Can I have a baby if I have HIV?
Yes. With the right care, HIV positive women can give birth to children without passing on HIV. There are many types of medical interventions that can reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.
How can we conceive if one of us is HIV negative and one is living with HIV?
The following conditions need to be met:
- the partner with HIV is on treatment and taking it as prescribed, and
- they have had an undetectable viral load for at least 6 months, and
- neither of you has any other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If someone is on effective HIV treatment and has an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on HIV. It can take up to six months on treatment for some people to become undetectable.
HIV treatment is also one of the ways a baby will be protected from HIV during pregnancy and labour.
If you're thinking about having unprotected sex, it’s very important that you and your partner discuss your options and the risks with your healthcare team before you make a decision. Before deciding not to use condoms, get advice from your HIV doctor or nurse so they can confirm that it’s safe to do so.
You’ll also both need a sexual health check-up to make sure neither of you has an STI as these can affect your baby’s health.
What do I need to know about getting pregnant if I’m living with HIV?
- Pregnancy will be easier if HIV is not causing you serious health problems at the moment.
- If you have an STI, or any other infection, you need to wait until it has been treated.
- It's important to follow the advice for all women who are planning pregnancy. This includes stopping smoking, eating healthily, avoiding alcohol and taking folic acid supplements.
- UK guidelines recommend that everyone with HIV starts treatment. If you're diagnosed during pregnancy, you'll start treatment straight away. If you already know you're living with HIV you'll generally stay on your current treatment – your doctor will advise you.
What support is available while I'm pregnant?
Your healthcare team will play a key role in helping you stay well while you are pregnant, and in preventing your baby from being infected with HIV.
There are many HIV support agencies which can provide information, advice and assistance to you at any point. To find out what’s available near you use the NHS Choices website.
You could also talk to one of the professionals you're currently receiving HIV services from. That might be someone at your HIV clinic (such as a doctor, health adviser or nurse), a social worker, or an advice worker.
Talking to other women living with HIV who have had a baby can help you make decisions about pregnancy, birth and looking after your baby’s health.
You can also talk to our online counsellor.
More help and support
- Positively UK is a charity providing support to people living with HIV and can offer you friendly peer support groups and workshops.
- Body and Soul is based in London and provide a range of support to families and children including groups for tots, children and teens.
- i-base pregnancy guide is up-to-date and exhaustive (you can also call or email i-base with any questions regarding your pregnancy and your treatment).
- If you live in London, Positive Parenting and Children might be able to help you.
- CHIVA, the Children's HIV Association has lots of resources for parents and families affected by HIV.