Just like every single mum, Aini* hoped to give birth to a healthy baby. However, it was her darkest moment on the day when she received the news that she was pregnant and HIV-positive.
Another mum, Sharmila* faced the same fate.
“When I was pregnant, I was scared to go to the hospital. What would I do if someone found out (I was positive)? I could lose everything – my family, my friends, my job. Where would I go? Who would help me?… now my beautiful baby has lost everything. Because of me, Malini* is also HIV-positive.”
What is HIV?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.
How horrible is HIV?
To many mothers who have the same fate , HIV is a death sentence, both for themselves and their babies. This is due to the prejudice and discrimination against AIDS sufferers that makes many suffer in silence.
How pervasive is HIV?
It can invade your body system by these ways.
- Vaginal, oral, or anal sex
- Sharing unclean needles to take drugs
- Pregnancy (from an infected mother to her baby)
- Blood transfusions (since 1985, blood donations have been routinely tested for HIV, so infection from blood transfusions is rare)
Miraculously for Aini*, her son, Amir* had been confirmed to be free of the virus at the age of 2.Remember that your baby will NOT be taken away from you simply because you are HIV positive. It is never too late to go for HIV treatment. Last but not least, go for a test for early detection.
A single test is not a good HIV-free indicator
Surprisingly, it may take a few months or even 17 years for a person who has contacted HIV virus to see the signs of AIDS. For HIV diagnosis, your blood is tested for antibodies. It takes 3 months for your body to produce the antibodies to HIV virus. Therefore, if you are HIV negative today, that doesn‘t confirm a healthy state as the virus can only be detected after living in your body for 3 months. Repeated test is advisable.
Who can help you to detect HIV?
Under Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child-Transmission program, all government antenatal clinics provide HIV testing for pregnant mothers. The doctors take a small quantity of blood from a vein in your arm, and send the sample to a laboratory for analysis.
Besides, the clinics also provide counselling and free treatment drugs for pregnant mothers (tested to be HIV positive) throughout their pregnancy and for life. The newborn babies of HIV-infected mothers are also put on treatment and given regular tests for HIV.
If you have HIV…
Don’t panic! You now need to think about how to take good care of yourself and your baby in the coming journey. Instead of dwelling on the existing problem, why not you face it and then solve it? Now, our medical field is more advanced and with the help from professionals, as well as your positive mind, you can create a good future for you and your little one. Besides, you’ll also need to stick to only safe sex and be careful not to spread your HIV virus to others.