Hiv positive women and their babies

A Service of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services

HIV Positive Women and Their Babies
After Birth
I am an HIV positive pregnant woman, and
Terms Used in This Fact Sheet:
I am currently on an HIV regimen. Will my
Adherence: how closely you follow, or adhere to, your
regimen change after I give birth?
treatment regimen. This includes taking the correct dose at Many women who are on an HIV treatment regimen the correct time as prescribed by your doctor. during pregnancy decide to stop or change their regimens Anemia: a condition in which there are too few red blood
cells in the blood. Without enough red blood cells, not

after they give birth. You and your doctor should discuss enough oxygen gets to tissues and organs. Symptoms of your postpartum treatment options during your
anemia include fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath. pregnancy or shortly after delivery. Don't stop taking any CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): an
of your medications without consulting your doctor first.
agency of the U.S. Federal government that focuses on Stopping HIV treatment could lead to problems.
disease prevention and control, environmental health, andhealth pr Complete blood count (CBC): a routine blood test that
How will I know if my baby is infected with
measures white and red blood cell counts, platelets (cells involved in blood clotting), hematocrit (amount of iron in the Babies born to HIV positive mothers are tested for HIV blood), and hemoglobin (an iron-containing substance in differently than adults. Adults are tested by looking for red blood cells). Changes in the amounts of each of these mayindicate infection, anemia, or other problems. antibodies to HIV in their blood. A baby keeps antibodiesfrom its mother, including antibodies to HIV, for many Mother-to-child transmission: the passage of HIV from an
HIV positive mother to her infant. The infant may become

months after birth. Therefore, an antibody test given infected while in the womb, during labor and delivery, or before the baby is 18 months old may be positive even if through breastfeeding. Also known as perinatal transmission. the baby does NOT have HIV infection. For the first 18 Oral: to be taken by mouth.
months, babies are tested for HIV directly, and not by P. carinii/jiroveci pneumonia (PCP): a common opportunistic
looking for antibodies to HIV. When babies are more than infection in which fluid develops in the lungs. It is caused by 18 months old, they no longer have their mother's the fungus Pneumocystis carinii/jiroveci. PCP is considered antibodies and can be tested for HIV using the antibody an AIDS-defining illness by the CDC. Postpartum: the time after giving birth.
Preliminary HIV tests for babies are usually performedat three time points: antibody test to confirm HIV infection. A positive HIVantibody test given after 18 months of age confirms HIV • at 1 to 2 months of age• at 3 to 6 months of age Are there any other tests my baby will
If babies test negative on two of these preliminary tests,they should be given an HIV antibody test between 12-18 receive after birth?
months. Babies who test negative for HIV antibodies at Babies born to HIV positive mothers should have a complete blood count (CBC) after birth. They should
also be monitored for signs of anemia, which is the main
Babies are considered HIV positive if they test positive negative side effect caused by the 6-week AZT on two of these preliminary HIV tests. Babies who test (Retrovir, or zidovudine) regimen infants should take to positive for HIV antibodies will need to be retested at 15 reduce the risk of HIV infection. They may also undergo to 18 months. At 18 months, babies should have an HIV other routine blood tests and vaccinations for babies.
This information is based on the U.S. Public Health Service's Recommendations for Use of Antiretroviral Drugs in Pregnant HIV-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection A Service of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services

HIV Positive Women and Their Babies After Birth (continued)
Will my baby receive anti-HIV medication?
What else should I think about after I give
Yes. It is recommended that all babies born to HIV positive mothers receive a 6-week course of oral AZT to
The CDC recommends that women not breastfeed in
help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This
areas where safe drinking water and infant formula are oral AZT regimen should begin within 6 to 12 hours after available (such as the United States). This is your baby is born. Some doctors may recommend that recommended to avoid transmission of HIV to infants AZT be given in combination with other anti-HIV medications. You and your doctor should discuss theoptions to decide which treatment is best for your baby.
Physical and emotional changes during the postpartumperiod, along with the stresses and demands of caring for In addition to HIV treatment, your baby should also receive a new baby, can make it difficult to follow your HIV treatment to prevent P. carinii/jiroveci pneumonia
treatment regimen. Adherence to your regimen is
(PCP). The recommended treatment is a combination of
the medications sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim.* This treatment should be started when your baby is 4 to 6 weeks old and the 6-week course of AZT is complete. The • concerns you may have about your regimen and treatment should continue until your baby is confirmed to be HIV negative. If your baby is HIV positive, he or she • feelings of depression (many women have these will need to take this treatment indefinitely.
• long-term plans for continuing medical care and HIV What type of medical follow-up should I
consider for my baby and me after I give

For more information about HIV and pregnancy, your doctor can contact the National HIV TelephoneConsultation Service (Warmline), a service that provides Seeking the right medical and supportive care services is health care professionals with HIV information. The important for you and your baby's health. These services If you are interested in joining a pregnancy registry that monitors HIV positive women during their pregnancies and after giving birth, please visit the Food and Drug of anti-HIV drugs during pregnancy. HIV positive Talk to your doctor about these services and any others pregnant women are therefore encouraged to register with you may need. He or she should be able to help you locate the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry at 1– 800 –258– 4263 For more information:
Contact your doctor or an AIDSinfo Health Information This information is based on the U.S. Public Health Service's HIV-Infected Women for Maternal Health and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV T Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection



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