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How can i manage HIV during pregnancy?

If you're already on ARVs when you discover you're pregnant, don't stop taking medication. A break in treatment may cause the virus to become more resistant. Instead, consult a healthcare provider immediately.

In the past, ARV were usually only recommended once the viral load and immunity count suggested that the immune system was compromised. Now the recommendation is to begin ARV as soon as possible after diagnosis. If you haven't already started it, or if you've just been diagnosed, your provider will likely recommend that you begin right away.

The goal of ARV is to reduce your viral load to an undetectable level. This protects your health and makes it less likely that HIV will spread to your baby. It can also reduce the chances of infecting your partner if he's HIV negative.

It's possible to have an undetectable viral load between three and six months after starting ART. So, in addition to receiving regular prenatal care, your HIV provider will check your viral load at least every month during your pregnancy until it's undetectable. After that, you'll be checked once every three months.

If your viral load is undetectable at the end of your pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby is very low, and having a vaginal birth may be a possibility. In some cases, (if you have a high viral load near the end of your pregnancy, for example), it's clear that it may be necessary to have a c-section to help prevent HIV transmission to your baby.