Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?
Advances in HIV treatment and prevention make pregnancy a safe and exciting possibility for women living with HIV, or who have partners living with HIV. There are many ways you and your partner can prevent passing on HIV to one another or to a new baby. No matter your current pregnancy wishes, you can take important steps for you and your partner’s health and the future you desire.
There are several important steps you can take to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. If you or your partner have HIV, it is important to start or continue HIV treatment to reach an undetectable viral load. People with undetectable viral loads can reduce the chance of HIV transmission to their sexual partners to nearly zero, and pregnant women with HIV can deliver HIV-negative babies. If a woman stays HIV negative, there is no risk of passing HIV on to the new baby.
Talk to your provider about:
• Your desire for children
• How to stay healthy or improve your health, including achieving an undetectable viral load if you are living with HIV
• How to reduce HIV transmission between partners and to the baby by using safer conception options like undetectable viral load, the HIV prevention pill known as PrEP, timed intercourse, self-insemination, sperm washing, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and/or in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
• Any health conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity) or health concerns (such as smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol)
• Prescriptions you are taking
• Disclosing your HIV status to your partner, if applicable
In addition to discussing the above with your provider and achieving an undetectable viral load:
• Start eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, taking prenatal vitamins, and exercising
• Stop smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs
• Get a dental checkup
• Ask for resources or support if you need help with anything above
If you are not actively trying to get pregnant, follow the previous recommendations under “yes” to ensure the best health for you and for your pregnancy if it does happen.
Talk to your health care provider about your uncertainty. They can help you prepare for pregnancy if you decide you are ready. They can also help you select a safe and effective contraceptive that will meet your needs, if you are not.
If you don’t want to become pregnant, it’s important to know your options for preventing pregnancy and HIV. Talk to your provider about contraceptive options to determine what will work best for you. Contraception is very safe for most women regardless of HIV status.
Many birth control methods are available, including IUDs, implants, shots, rings, pills, and male and female condoms. Some methods require a clinic visit or a prescription. Long-term reversible methods such as IUDs and implants are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and are a good choice for many women. You can decide to stop using these options any time you are ready to get pregnant.
Remember that the only options that provide protection against pregnancy, STIs, and HIV are male and female condoms. If your birth control options fail, you can get emergency contraception over the counter or through your provider to prevent a pregnancy. If you have sex without a condom and think you may have been exposed to HIV, talk to your provider or go to the ER for PEP, a medication that can keep you HIV-negative.