Why is it important?: Checking for HIV is important because HIV can be passed on to the medical personnel who facilitate the delivery. More importantly, it can been passed on to the unborn baby during pregnancy. Early detection is crucial as proper treatment can be initiated so as to prevent HIV from passing on to the baby. Studies have shown that with proper treatment the risk can be reduced by less than 2%. In 2009, the number of pregnant women living with HIV in India was estimated to be between 22000 and 61000.
If you are diagnosed with HIV and you are pregnant, having the baby via a cesarean birth (c-section) instead of a vaginal delivery can also reduce the chance of passing HIV from you to your baby.
How is the Test Performed?
The HIV test is performed with the help of a simple blood test.
- In case of a lab test, it will take approximately 2 weeks to get the results.
- In rapid test, results will be ready in 10–20 minutes.
- If test result is negative, it means that you do not have HIV and will not have to undergo further testing.
- If test result is positive, you will have to undergo another confirmatory test.
Do not worry if your doctor performs a HIV test during your pregnancy. These tests are performed as part of routine blood tests that all pregnant women have to undergo. The blood tests are a part of prenatal care that helps detect infections and other conditions during pregnancy.
If HIV is detected, then proper treatment and management can reduce the risk of harm to you as well as to your unborn baby.