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Pertinent questions, answers on HIV



DOCTOR, can a person who is HIV positive have a baby who is HIV negative?
IT HAS been known to happen. A small amount of blood is exchanged between the mother and baby across the placenta. The baby also gets exposed to blood from the mother during childbirth. However, if the mother is taking regular Anti Retroviral Therapy, the amount of virus in her blood may be minimal to undetectable. So an infective dose of the virus may not be transmitted to the baby. If needed, babies born to HIV positive mothers can also be given a short course of ART until doctors are sure that the baby is HIV negative.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors involved in this. You should have a detailed discussion with your doctor before taking the decision to have a baby of your own.
Doctor, how can I prevent myself from contracting HIV when I am staying with a relative who already has HIV virus?
You will not contract HIV infection just by staying in the same house with another person who is HIV positive. HIV can only be spread if there is exchange of blood or body fluids between two persons, one of whom is HIV positive. This means that, to contract HIV, you should have sexual intercourse or share a sharp instrument like a needle or razor (containing blood or body fluids) which this person has used. Even in such cases, an infective dose of the virus needs to be transmitted from this person to you. Eating from shared plates, drinking from the same glass, sharing your meals, etc. do not transmit HIV.
So if you are staying in the same house as another person with HIV, you will not contract HIV unless you have sexual intercourse with this person or share a needle or razor or other sharp instruments with them. Casual contact does not transmit HIV. Even if you are having sexual intercourse with them, using a condom will greatly reduce the chances of transmission of the virus.
Finally, it is likely that a person who is HIV positive is taking medicines to control the infection. This medication is called Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART). If they are not, you should encourage them to consult a doctor or HIV counselor to discuss treatment options. ART will help them lead a healthy life.

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