Being HIV Positive & Parenting Blog


U=U & Medical Adherence:

Undetectable = Untransmittable means that a person living with HIV who follows their treatment plan and maintains an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. If you are sexually active, U = U affects you, regardless of your status, sexuality, or background. Together, we can stop the spread of HIV.A viral load is the amount of HIV virus in the blood of someone who is HIV positive. The goal of HIV treatment is to reduce viral load to very low or undetectable levels. An undetectable viral load means that the amount of HIV virus in the blood is so low, it cannot be measure. Not only will an undetectable viral load prevent your partners from being exposed to HIV, it will also protect your health. By controlling your HIV, you are less likely to develop serious illnesses and have less damage done to your body. The only way to know if you are undetectable is to see your provider regularly for viral load tests. If your viral load test becomes detectable again, your risk of spreading HIV increases.

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Ways To Lower Risk of Passing HIV To Your Unborn Baby

Reducing the risk of passing HIV to your baby

If you have HIV, you can reduce the risk of passing it to your baby by:

  • taking antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy, even if you don’t need HIV treatment for your own health
  • considering the choice between a caesarean or vaginal delivery with your doctor
  • bottle feeding your baby, rather than breastfeeding
  • your doctor prescribing your baby antiretroviral drugs for up to 4 weeks after they have been born

Do not breastfeed your baby if you have HIV, as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.

Does having a caesarean reduce the risk of passing on HIV?

Advances in treatment mean that a vaginal delivery shouldn’t increase the risk of passing HIV to your baby if both of the following apply:

  • the HIV virus can’t be detected in your blood (an undetectable viral load)
  • your HIV is well managed

In some cases, doctors may recommend a planned caesarean section before going into labour to reduce the risk of passing on HIV.

For example:

  • If you’re not taking antiretroviral drugs (combination therapy)
  • If the HIV virus can be detected in your blood (a detectable viral load)



Unprotected Vaginal Sex

If the man is positive and the woman is negative—or vice versa—there is a risk of HIV transmission if unprotected vaginal intercourse is the conception method of choice. But if the positive partner is on antiretroviral treatment and his or her viral load is undetectable, there is effectively no risk of transmission. Other ways to reduce the chance of transmission include pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a short course of HIV drugs given to the negative partner before intercourse to help prevent infection. There’s also timed intercourse—engaging in unprotected vaginal sex only during times of peak ovulation.

Assisted Reproduction

Assisted reproduction involves the use of technology, usually at a fertility clinic, to achieve fertilization without vaginal intercourse. In the past, fertility clinics were generally unwilling to help out HIV-positive or HIV-serodiscordant couples wanting to become pregnant. Today, several clinics across the United States are offering a full range of reproductive services to HIV-positive couples. While assisted reproduction technologies are changing all the time, there are a few “standard” approaches to know about.

Types Of Assisted Reproduction:

  • Oligospermia cup insemination (OGI): This is perhaps the least invasive procedure offered by assisted reproduction clinics. It involves placing sperm in a cup that is securely fastened to the cervix, similar to a diaphragm, to coax the sperm to enter the uterus and fertilize an egg released by the ovaries.
  • In utero fertilization (IUF): This procedure involves placing sperm deep within the uterus to promote fertilization.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): Using this method, the woman takes fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries to produce more eggs. The eggs are then retrieved and combined, in a petri dish, with sperm from the male partner (or sperm donor). Once fertilization occurs, the embryo is then implanted in the lining of the woman’s uterus using a thin plastic tube.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm insertion (ICSI): With this technique, a single sperm is injected into the egg and the embryo is placed in the fallopian tubes or uterus


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