Why Should Pregnant Women Need to Be Cautious about HIV Infection & Transmission?
HIV virus has been much feared by the people around the world ever since its outbreak way back in the 1980s. Pregnancy seems to be already pretty challenging but the situation is made even more complicated and worse if the mother seems to be HIV positive. But today, there has been a leap in medical science and treatments so HIV pregnancy today is safe and we have witnessed a reduction in the possibilities of the baby automatically contracting the virus from the mother.
HIV symptoms in the early stages are actually mild and are often ignored pretty easily. However, the alarming fact is that even though, there are no outward early HIV symptoms as such, the HIV virus could easily be transmitted from an infected mother to the baby. It is, therefore, mandatory to determine if you are actually HIV positive or not. In this context, you must know that during the initial few weeks, the infected person may demonstrate only mild symptoms like fever, headache or even lack of energy or fatigue. Some patients may demonstrate absolutely no symptoms during the initial stages. In some cases, it could take more than a decade for full-blown HIV symptoms to show.
What is HIV?
HIV is supposed to be a deadly virus that attacks your immune system. Moreover, if the HIV virus is left to itself without proper treatment, you could develop AIDS that is supposed to be a prolonged issue and sometimes, fatal. In this context, you must know that HIV is transmitted through oral, anal, or vaginal sexual contact. It may also get transmitted through blood, injection drug use, breast milk, and blood factor products.
- A Sore Throat
- Swelling in groin, neck, armpits
- A Headache
- Night Sweats
- Vomiting, Nausea, & Diarrhea
- Joint Pains
- Body ache
Is It Necessary for Pregnant Women to Get Tested?
In some countries, it is compulsory for all pregnant women to opt for HIV screening. However, in other countries, it is left to the mother’s discretion and she enjoys the right to say no to HIV screening.
Testing and proper diagnosis are a critical part of remaining healthy despite HIV. With the effective early diagnosis, you could opt for early treatment. For testing HIV, a number of blood screenings are necessary including the ELISA test. The ELISA tests and Western Blotting are the two commonly used blood antibody tests for successful detection of HIV. But due to progress in the field of medicine and technology, some other effective testing methods could be used today. The CDC has discontinued the use of Western Blot test for HIV since 2014. Today most laboratories are using an immunoassay for precise antibodies to both the HIV-1 and 2 and also, the HIVp24 antigen. This may be effectively followed by some sort of a confirmatory immunoassay for distinguishing between HIV-2 and HIV-1. Contact important and reliable sites such as https://www.mybiosource.com/ for research reagents requirements as they are the leading source for proteins, antibodies, ELISA Kits, and peptides.
Some Factors that Boost Risks of HIV Transmission
- Viral load in the mother could determine HIV transmission. For instance, if the viral load in the mom’s blood is just 400 copies/mL then the exact rate of transmission would be 1 percent. However, this rate would be increased dramatically to over 30 percent or so when the viral levels in the maternal blood are over 100,000 copies/mL
- In case of a pre-term delivery, the baby would have a four-fold boost in the risk of acquiring the HIV virus.
- If the HIV infected mother is breastfeeding her baby, there is around 30 percent to 40 percent chance that the baby would get infected with the HIV virus.
- If the mother had got infected because of sexual transmission, the precise rate of actual vertical transmission seems to be higher.
- Certain medical procedures performed during delivery such as artificial membrane ruptures, forceps application, and even invasive fetal monitoring could definitely increase the HIV transmission risk for the baby.
There is a need for the HIV infected pregnant mother to be educated about the transmission risks to her baby. She must understand the implications and must take effective measures to shield her baby from the deadly virus.