Pregnancy and HIV

July 26th, 2013

Now that you’re pregnant, are you planning to continue working in the field of HIV?” Countless future mothers working in the area of HIV/AIDS have heard this question. It seems that some prejudices about HIV are more tenacious than others. In particular, there’s something about pregnancy and HIV that sticks in the collective imagination. The same holds true for HIV-positive women who are pregnant, or trying to get pregnant. They are faced with incomprehension, pity, and even a wholly negative attitude from the people around them, or society in general. Moreover, access to sexual and reproductive health services remains a path fraught with roadblocks for these women.

We need to remember a few key facts:

1. Whether you are pregnant, a senior citizen, a child, or anyone else; whether you like heavy metal, pop, or classical music; whether you drink Red Bull, tea, or coffee, you cannot contract HIV just because you work, study, drink, or go to concerts with a person who is HIV-positive.

2. You can be pregnant and HIV-positive (and glowing!). With adequate health services, the risk of transmitting HIV to your baby is less than 2%.

3. With the treatments available today, the life expectancy of HIV-positive people and HIV-negative people is comparable: HIV-positive moms and dads will have plenty of time to live through temper tantrums in supermarkets, teenaged rebellions, and basements being taken over by friends on hockey nights, thank you very much.

In short, to all future mothers, HIV-positive or negative: CONGRATULATIONS! Lets hope our kids eat all their broccoli and grow up surrounded by a little less prejudice against HIV than their parents’ generation.

Source (in French):

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