If you are HIV+ and you don’t get the right treatment or you don’t take it properly, you could pass the infection on to your unborn child. This is called mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT). It can happen when:
· You are pregnant
· You are giving birth
· You are breastfeeding
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) is when you and your baby take treatment to PREVENT the HIV from entering your baby’s body.
If you test HIV positive and you are pregnant you will start ARVs immediately, regardless of your CD4 count. You will be given the new fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets – and take a single tablet once a day. The FDC combines all three ARVs into a single pill. This is also called full HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment, or Triple-Therapy). You will be given your full CD4 results within a week, but will stay on the FDC regardless of your CD4 levels.
Your baby will be given Nevirapine syrup. This ARV syrup helps to prevent HIV infection in your baby. It is essential that you take your own ARVs to keep both you and baby safe. If you are on the new fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets your baby will stop taking the syrup at 6 weeks old. If you are not on FDC your baby will continue with the syrup until a week after you wean him//her off breastmilk.
Your baby will also need to take CTX prophylaxis from 4 - 6 weeks old. This medicine will help protect her from infections.
All HIV-exposed babies should be tested for HIV at 6 weeks of age and 6 weeks after you stop breastfeeding.