It is very important that you know your HIV status before you fall pregnant. If you think you could be pregnant, go to a healthcare facility as soon as possible. The healthcare provider 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. These are wellness and health visits for pregnant women.
As part of the antenatal care visits, your healthcare provider will give you counselling and ask for your permission to do HIV testing.
- If you are pregnant and HIV negative: you will be offered HIV testing at each of your antenatal clinic visits to ensure that you remain negative.
- If you are pregnant and HIV positive: you will be offered HIV treatment and put into an adherence club. This club encourages 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 HIV positive 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 diseases.
A test for an STI called syphilis will also be done at your first ANC visit as well as at 34 weeks for all HIV positive and HIV negative women.
If the test for syphilis is positive, there is effective treatment 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 to avoid reinfections.
If you are HIV positive and pregnant, or if you are pregnant and do not 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.