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About one-quarter of women with HIV want to become pregnant
Date:2/25/2008

ator on the studys funding grant. Women who are HIV-positive should receive antiretroviral medications throughout their pregnancy and during labor, and their newborns should receive antiretroviral medication for the first six weeks of life. Delivery by Caesarean section also can reduce risk of transmission of the virus to the infant, but should be performed if required for the mothers health or if the mothers level of virus in the blood is high. With optimal care, the risk of transmission can be as low as 1 percent, Brady said.

There is also a risk associated with conception of the child, Brady noted. Though transmission of HIV from an infected woman to an uninfected male partner is not universal during unprotected sex, it can happen. Even if both partners are already infected with HIV, an infected male partner might transmit a new strain of HIV to his infected female partner, which can cause problems for the mother and fetus as well.

We dont understand all of the factors that affect the risk of transmitting HIV with an individual sex act. Taking medications and lowering the viral load reduces but doesnt eliminate the risk. Some people interested in having a child may be willing to accept this risk. But there is a risk, Brady said.

One finding of the study surprised the researchers. Women who had the most negative self-image associated with their HIV status were also the most likely to want to become pregnant.

We would have predicted that the lower the stigma, the more likely women would choose to become pregnant. We saw the exact opposite that those with high stigma were making more choices in favor of pregnancy, Serovich said.

For some women who feel highly stigmatized by their disease, the rewards of pregnancy might offer therapeutic benefits, the researchers suggest.

When youre pregnant, you get lots of attention, people come up to you and touch your belly. You get a shower, people do things for you. There
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Contact: Julianne Serovich
JSerovich@ehe.osu.edu
614-292-5685
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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