HIV and Pregnancy

HIV is different now. With proper treatment and care, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. Women living with HIV can also have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. With care and treatment, the risk of transmission of HIV can be reduced to less than 1%. Women living with HIV who do not receive treatment have a 15% to 40% chance of passing HIV to their babies (called vertical transmission).

A mother can pass HIV on to her baby in three ways:

  • The baby can receive the virus during pregnancy, as HIV can pass through the placenta.
  • During childbirth and delivery, the baby can become infected by being exposed to infected blood.
  • HIV is also present in breast milk and can be passed to the baby after birth during breastfeeding or by using infected, pumped breast milk.

Women who are HIV positive and pregnant, or are considering getting pregnant, may face additional challenges. It is important for a pregnant woman living with HIV to find a healthcare provider who is supportive and knowledgeable about HIV and pregnancy. This will result in the best care being given to the mother and baby. For general information about HIV/AIDS, click here.