An unexpected pregnancy can inspire a multitude of emotions, and the one you may currently be experiencing is worry after testing positive for HIV. If you’re feeling scared, this is understandable. HIV can be a weighty diagnosis. On top of concerns about your own health, you may be concerned about the possibility of disease transmission during delivery. Some women who are HIV-positive consider abortion because they feel continuing the pregnancy carries too many risks. Fortunately, more information has been made available about HIV and its potential treatment options since the condition became widely known in the 1980s. Conducting research and speaking with a professional may help you see what forms of care you can pursue for HIV during pregnancy, providing a fair balance of choices for you to consider as you contemplate how to move forward.
Are you considering abortion after testing positive for HIV? Avenue Women’s Center can help. We’ll provide relevant information about your pregnancy, offering relevant services geared to equip you in navigating through your choices. Our expert staff can offer important information on all your pregnancy options in a safe, confidential environment, allowing you to process your individual questions and concerns.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at one of our centers in Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, or Wood Dale, Illinois!
What Do I Do After Learning I’m Pregnant and HIV-Positive?
If you suspect you’re pregnant or you’ve taken an at-home test, it’s recommended you schedule an appointment with a doctor for confirmation. He or she may be able to provide you with information about how to remain healthy regardless of what unexpected pregnancy decision you may be contemplating. When meeting with your doctor, it’s usually a good idea to ask questions about your condition, and what your options may be.
A pregnant woman infected with HIV may need to take HIV-related drugs. You may be anxious about doing this while you’re pregnant. But a medical professional can give you advice about how to start your treatment. They can also speak to the types of medication that may be safe to take if you continue the pregnancy.
One of your primary concerns may be the possibility of passing the disease on to your child. In the past, about 25% of pregnant women passed the virus on to their children. But this is no longer the case. With medical advancements, if you’re being treated for HIV during pregnancy and your viral load is low, the risk of disease transmission is now said to be less than 1%.
This does not mean a child contracting the disease is impossible, but the number of cases where this has happened is believed to have decreased by 90% since the mid-1990s.
How Can I Receive Treatment for HIV While Pregnant?
There are steps you can take to lower the risk of HIV infecting the fetus during and after your pregnancy. Some of these options may include:
Working With Your Doctor:
You may need to work closely with your doctor throughout your pregnancy to ensure your health is being monitored. Some HIV drugs should not be used while you’re pregnant. Or, they may require you to take a specific dosage due to your condition. Your doctor will typically inform you about what prescriptions are safe to take. If there are any side effects from the medication, and you feel yourself struggling to cope with them, reach out to your healthcare provider for assistance on ways to manage them.
Breastfeeding and HIV:
It’s possible to pass the virus on through your breastmilk. Even if you are taking medicine, HIV can still be transmitted through the milk you make. One way to avoid this is to use formula instead of breastfeeding.
After delivery, it’s recommended to consult a doctor for follow-up tests to see if your child has contracted the disease. A medical professional can advise you further about whether or not you should begin pursuing care right away after delivery. When talking with your doctor, ask if it would be beneficial to give your child anti-HIV medicines.
What If I Can’t Afford Treatment?
The cost of any necessary drugs or care may be the source of another concern. Fears about paying for medicines can be another reason why HIV-positive women may consider abortion. However, there are programs that can help with expenses. A healthcare provider or a pregnancy consultant might be able to recommend some to you.
Government-funded or subsidized health centers typically offer HIV care services. Also, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program is works in different communities to support HIV-positive individuals in need of financial assistance.
Being pregnant and learning you’re HIV-positive can be a terrifying situation. You may be worried about what effect this will have on your pregnancy’s health. But try to remember that current advancements have made it possible to manage HIV better than in the past. Throughout all of this, resources are here to help you work through this illness and assist with analyzing your potential options.
The combination of HIV and an unexpected pregnancy can be an overwhelming circumstance. If you are considering abortion due to an HIV diagnosis, Avenue Women’s Center is here to help. We offer support through our limited medical services and referrals. Our private consultations offer information about your options and equip you with the resources you need for your next step.
Reach out today to receive reliable information and free services!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, November). Pregnant Women, Infants, and Children. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/pregnantwomen/index.html
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018, November). Pregnancy and HIV. Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-and-aids/living-hiv/pregnancy-and-hiv
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.