You can have a healthy pregnancy if you are positive
You can have a healthy pregnancy if you are HIV positive
Are you HIV-positive and pregnant or considering having a baby? You are not alone. Living with HIV does not necessarily take away your desire or your ability to have children. The good news is that advances in HIV treatment have allowed many HIV-positive women1 to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
You probably have many questions. Asking questions is an important step in making choices. This booklet is meant to help you make informed decisions about your health during pregnancy as well as the health of your baby. It also includes words of support and inspiration from women living with HIV from across Canada.
Maybe you are pregnant and have just found out that you are living with HIV. That can be a lot to deal with at once. In addition to the information provided in this booklet, you may want more information about HIV and its treatment, as well as guidance on whom to tell about having HIV. The most important thing right now is to find a doctor who can help you get this information and who will support your choices around your pregnancy and your HIV. These resources can link you to services in your area.
You may be thinking about ending your pregnancy because you may feel you cannot care for a child right now, or maybe there are other reasons. Having an abortion is a very personal choice. Only you can decide whether or not to continue your pregnancy. No one can force you to have a baby or force you to end your pregnancy. You may want to know more about abortion; you can discuss your options with a doctor, nurse or counsellor. They can answer your questions about future pregnancies as well.
It’s possible you will face stigma. Stigma is the negative judgment some people make about others. Some people living with HIV face stigma and discrimination because of choices they make about having children. In this case, other people may feel your choices are wrong. Stigma about HIV can limit the services and other support available to you. This is called discrimination. Stigma and discrimination are often based on fear and can happen when people don’t know all the facts about HIV and pregnancy.
You may face stigma because you choose to have a child.
You may face stigma because you choose to not have a child.
Whatever you are facing, you might want to talk with people you trust—friends, family members or healthcare providers. They can give you support while you make your choices. If you decide pregnancy is right for you, your network can also play an important part in helping you to stay healthy and to have a healthy baby.
- 1. We have written this information using the term “woman” to describe a person who can get pregnant. We acknowledge that some people who can get pregnant do not identify as women and may have needs that are different or in addition to the topics presented here. If this is you, we encourage you to see a healthcare provider familiar with your health needs.