Can HIV be passed on to an unborn child during pregnancy or through breastfeeding?

Yes. HIV can pass from a mother to an unborn baby during pregnancy or through breastfeeding. It is called perinatal transmission. Although a therapy called Maternal Antiretroviral therapy can reduce the risk of its spread during breastfeeding, the possibility of HIV in the child cannot be eliminated.

When one is pregnant, HIV can infect the fetus by crossing the placenta. At the time of delivery, as the amniotic sac breaks, the fetus gets exposed to the woman’s body fluids, and the risk further increases. Most babies who get HIV become infected around the time of delivery. However, if the mother consults a doctor regularly and takes HIV medicine on a daily basis, the viral load in the body drops majorly. It is called suppression or undetectable viral load. CDC states that if you take HIV medicine on a daily basis during the entire pregnancy, labor, and delivery, the risk of HIV can be 1% or less. In cases where the HIV viral load is not reduced, a cesarean delivery can prevent the transmission of HIV.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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