Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > HIV and Pregnancy
United States Preventive Services Task Force, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of
Pediatrics, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend
that all pregnant women be screened for
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This is
because early detection and treatment are the key to preventing newborn HIV
Although your doctor may not offer an HIV test as part of your routine prenatal care,
it's a good idea to have one. If you have any risk factors for HIV infection,
your doctor may want to give you a second test later in your
If you or your partner has ever had unprotected sex (or
shared needles) with a person whose HIV status is unknown, there is a chance
that you have the virus. If you do have HIV, your baby could also become
infected. The virus is usually passed on during labor and childbirth. It is sometimes is passed during pregnancy.
Breast-feeding can pass the virus from mother to baby.
Treatment with medicines called antiretrovirals, both during pregnancy and
after the birth, greatly reduces a baby's risk of HIV infection. Antiretroviral
medicines prevent the virus from multiplying. When the amount of HIV in the
blood is minimized, the
immune system has a chance to recover and grow
Treatment for HIV during and/or after pregnancy may include:
For more information, see the topic Human Immunodeficiency
American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2007). Human immunodeficiency virus section of Perinatal infections. In Guidelines for Perinatal Care, 6th ed., pp. 316–320. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMay 22, 2015
Current as of:
May 22, 2015
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.