Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us
  • Infection Diseases & Immunology Center
    The Miriam Hospital
    1125 North Main Street
    Providence, RI 02904
    Tele.: 401-793-2928
    Fax: 401-793-7401
  • HIV and Your Sexual and Reproductive Health

  • If I am HIV positive, does this mean that I can never have children? 
    HIV-positive people can have children, but having a baby is a decision to make very carefully. HIV can be passed to the baby during pregnancy, at birth, or after birth through breastfeeding. For HIV positive people with HIV negative partners, having unprotected sex can put both the partner and the baby at risk for becoming infected with HIV.

    If you are an HIV positive woman who wants to have a baby, it is very important to take all the steps to ensure that the amount of HIV virus in your body is as low as possible before birth. If you are an HIV positive man, there are special techniques to remove HIV from the sperm. Seeing an obstetrician who specializes in HIV care is the most important thing you can do to increase the chance that your baby will be born healthy and free of HIV. Visit www.womenchildrenhiv.org on the web to learn more.

    What about birth control and family planning? 
    If you are HIV positive and are not yet ready to have a baby, birth control and family planning can help you:
    • Enjoy a healthy sex life while reducing the chance you will transmit HIV to your partner or children.
    • Prevent unintended pregnancy and avoid the stress of an unplanned pregnancy.
    • Plan desired pregnancies while minimizing the risk of HIV transmission.
     
    Some HIV drugs and medications affect how well birth control pills or other birth control methods work, so it is important to talk to your doctors about your HIV medicines, the birth control method you are currently using, and what other methods might be available to you.

    I am HIV positive and already pregnant. Will my baby be positive? 
    No one can tell for sure if your baby will be born with HIV. There is always a chance. Take the following steps to minimize the risk.
    • Get medical care for HIV in addition to your regular OB/GYN care.
    • You will need to take certain medicines to get the amount of HIV as low as possible in your body before delivery.
    • Your baby will need to be on HIV medicines for the first few weeks/months of its life and see a specialist in an HIV pediatric clinic listed below.
    • You should not breastfeed if you are HIV positive, as HIV can be passed through breast milk.
     
    For Specialty HIV Pediatric care contact:

    The Pediatric and Adolescent HIV Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital
    593 Eddy St., Providence, RI 02903
    401-444-8360
    Interpretation services are available.

    If I have children do they need to be tested?
    It’s very hard and frightening to think that your child might be HIV positive. Whether or not your children need to be tested for HIV depends on a number of different things, including your children’s ages and at what point you were exposed to HIV. Talk to your HIV doctor about whether your children may have been infected and whether they should be tested. The doctor can help you figure out options to get the test done and any support services you may need. Even if you think your child was probably not exposed to HIV, you may still choose to get them tested for peace of mind.
     
  • More Frequently Asked HIV Questions

    JSI logoThis material was developed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., and funded by a Centers for Disease Control Prevention grant.