It is very important to go to the clinic as soon as you suspect or know that you are pregnant, especially if you don’t know or aren’t sure of your HIV status.
The healthcare provider at the clinic will do a pregnancy test and offer you counselling before they do an HIV test. It is important for pregnant women to book for and attend every antenatal care (ANC) visit throughout their pregnancy. These are wellness and health visits for pregnant women.
- If you are pregnant and your HIV test result is negative, you will be offered HIV testing at each of your antenatal clinic visits to make sure that you remain negative.
- If you are pregnant and your test result is positive, you will be offered HIV treatment and put into an adherence club. This club will encourage you to take HIV treatment properly during your pregnancy, birth, and delivery as well as during breastfeeding. Staying on HIV treatment is important because it can prevent your child from being born with HIV in what is called prevention of mother-to-child transmission.
STIs and pregnancy
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in pregnancy can be harmful to your unborn baby or may cause your baby to be born with illnesses.
A test for an STI called syphilis will also be done at your first ANC visit as well as at 34 weeks of pregnancy for all HIV-positive and HIV-negative women.
If the test for syphilis is positive, there is treatment that works to protect you and your baby from further illness.
Your partner should also be tested and treated for STIs, and it is advisable that you use condoms when having sex to avoid reinfections.
If you are HIV positive and pregnant, or if you are pregnant and don’t know your status, you can visit your local clinic or use the Service Finder to find a clinic where you can speak to a healthcare provider.