Having healthy children is not a dream for people living with HIV. Even if the man, woman or both are infected with HIV, they can still have children. But there are rules to be followed and measures to be taken depending on the positivity of the spouses during the conception of a child. If women living with HIV take the necessary measures, vertical transmission risk drops below 0.5%.
Sperm Washing Technique
It’s still the safest way to conceive for people living with HIV. Sperm and semen are different things. HIV exists in the semen but not in sperm cell. In sperm washing technique, healthy sperm cells taken from a man living with HIV are injected into the uterus. Vertical transmission is not possible since the sperm itself doesn’t have the virus. If there’s another problem preventing the conception, different in-vitro-fertilization methods might be required instead of sperm washing technique.
Unprotected Sexual Intercourse
A successful antiretroviral treatment is known to reduce the transmission risk. HIV treatment is considered to be an effective preventive method for conception with unprotected sexual intercourse. If:
-An effective antiretroviral treatment is utilized
-Viral load has been at an undetectable level for 6 months
-No other sexually transmitted infection exists
-Unprotected sexual intercourse will be limited with ovulation period
it’s stated in 2013 NICE Fertilite guideline that instead of sperm washing technique, conception can be ensured with unprotected sexual intercourse. However, you should use this method by consulting your doctor and discussing the possible risks with your partner, even they have been reduced to minimum. Utilization of this method without consulting your doctor is not recommended.
Negative partner’s utilization of short-term antiretroviral treatment in couples who will conceive with unprotected sexual intercourse. It aims the same as pre-exposure preventive treatment. Prep utilization and unprotected sexual intercourse are not recommended without doctor examinations.
Women living with HIV might need to alter their medication when they get pregnant. Infection treatments would continue with antiretroviral medications not affecting the pregnancy.
Until recently, C-section was recommended for all women living with HIV, but now some guidelines state that those who are under treatment and have an undetectable viral load level can have natural birth.
Your baby must receive a postnatal medication treatment for 4-6 weeks. Normally this medication can be obtained from the pharmacies, but in case of emergency due to not finding it in your local pharmacies or pharmaceutical warehouses, your doctor can provide it from Directorate of Public Health’s Infectious Diseases Branch Office. These medications are stored at some centers of Ministry Of Health to be used in emergency cases, and transported to the city requiring them.