HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is spread through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids. The virus can be passed on during anal, vaginal, or oral sex, sharing needles, or receiving blood from an infected person.
HIV can pass from a woman to her baby:
- During pregnancy.
- At birth.
- When breast feeding.
You can have the HIV virus and not even know it. You may not look or feel sick, but you can still pass the virus on to other people including your baby. Many woman with HIV discover it only after their children are found to have the virus.
If you have HIV, there are treatments that can reduce the risk of passing the virus on to your baby. Talk to your doctor.
Not my problem?
“Not my problem” should not be your first response to a caution about HIV and AIDS, unless you have read the information below and tests have confirmed you are safe to take the next step toward pregnancy.
- An infected woman can spread HIV to her baby during pregnancy and delivery.
- More and more Canadian women are becoming infected with HIV. Almost half the woman testing positive are between 15 and 29 years of age.
- A high number of lifetime sexual partners can put a person at greater risk for developing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. But it only takes one partner.
- Little knowledge about your partner’s sexual history and health may put you at risk for infection.
- Having another sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or herpes can increase your risk of getting HIV.
- Condom use offers protection from sexually transmitted infections.
- Injection drug users are at greater risk for getting HIV. Use a clean (sterile) needle each time and do not share needles with others.