What are the treatment options available to HIV-positive pregnant women?
Key Message – Pregnant women who are HIV-infected should be evaluated for Antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible • The HIV – positive mother needs all the routine treatment given to a pregnant woman including iron and folate; multivitamin supplementation; tetanus toxoid immunization and malaria prophylaxis • Antiretroviral drugs can be used: • Three drugs (Highly Active Anti Retroviral Treatment) if the mother needs it for her own health. Determination of this is made by looking at her CD4 cells. CD4 cells are the body’s soldier for fighting infections and illnesses and are usually invaded by HIV. CD4 cells die off slowly over a period of months and years. As the number of CD4 cells declines- below 250, the body is less and less able to fight off infections and is said to be immune suppressed, and the woman would then need the three drugs during her pregnancy and afterwards. Drugs are delayed until after the first trimester, unless the benefit outweighs the risk • If the woman’s