Ideally, the test should be done in the first trimester of pregnancy. The exception, of course, is for women who find themselves pregnant from the fourth month, for example. Either way, the test should be redone in the last quarter – even if the first one was negative. The test consists of a serology that will detect not only HIV, but also syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella and cytomegalovirus. All of these are guaranteed free to pregnant women. In the case of HIV, there are two different tests: Elisa (which searches the individual’s blood for antibodies that the body naturally develops in response to HIV infection) and Western Blot, which are more sensitive and accurately define presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. However, as it is more complicated and requires more advanced technical conditions,
How should the prenatal care of a woman who already knows that she has HIV be treated?
She should take the antiretroviral during the entire pregnancy, even if she has never needed the drug before. This should be done to lessen the risks of transmitting the virus to the baby. Childbirth is the moment of greatest risk of transmission, since it is when there is contact between the blood of the mother and the child. At this time, the woman should also take AZT through the vein and the baby, during the first 6 weeks of life, also need to take syrup of the same drug. This makes the risk of the baby contracting the virus to be below 1%.
Can HIV-positive women breastfeed?
No. Breast milk is one of the transmitters of the virus, even for those women who took all care during pregnancy and childbirth. A recommendation from doctors, including, is that the woman take a medication to inhibit the production of milk after the baby is born.
Research has shown that pregnant women are at greater risk of contracting and transmitting HIV to their partners. Can this really happen?
During pregnancy the woman has natural changes in her immunity. With this, she could, yes, be more likely to contract HIV, just as she has more dermatological problems, for example. However, further studies are needed to substantiate and quantify this risk.