How is transmission of HIV prevented during pregnancy?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Ashley T Peterson, MD; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Currently, no vaccine is available for HIV; therefore, prevention is crucial to decreasing the risk of transmission. [39] Women must be counseled on methods to avoid transmission to others, including safe sex practice and avoiding donation of blood or organs.

Regular use of latex condoms and avoidance of unprotected intercourse is important. Treatment of genital tract infections and inflammation in both partners is important to avoid mucosal breaks. The frequent use of nonoxyynol-9 vaginal gel has been associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition in the high-risk population. Women should not share toothbrushes or razors, as small amounts of blood may be present.

In areas of the world where safe alternatives are available, breastfeeding is not recommended. This also applies to women on antiretroviral therapy. [5] Passage of antiretrovirals into breast milk has been shown for several agents, including zidovudine and lamivudine. [18]

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