HIV is the most prevalent dangerous and deadly disease which has no cure. The transmission of HIV infection takes place very easily makes it all the more deadly. HIV can be passed on by a mother to her unborn child so screening for HIV infection should be done even before planning conception. Screening is done by detecting the presence of antibodies of HIV in the blood sample. Read on to get more information on HIV.
With the rise in the number of women falling under the child bearing age, being affected by HIV it always makes sense to test for this virus before planning a pregnancy. Today HIV is by far the most dangerous and dreaded disease and since it is till now incurable, the condition is all the more convoluted. Since the HIV
can be readily passed on from the woman to her unborn child and the child also dies within three years if they happen to be untreated due to improper diagnosis.
Why is HIV so Dangerous?
HIV infection is easily passed on the unborn fetus during the pregnancy period or during labour and delivery. The most dangerous part is that it could be passed on through breast milk as well. There is around 25% probability of the unborn fetus getting affected and if the woman receives medical treatment on an appropriate time, the probability can be lessened to as much as 2%. Therefore in order to reduce the risk of transmission, the woman should always undergo the test before pregnancy.
The danger of HIV lies in the manner in which the virus gets transmitted. It gets transmitted from the infected person through any type of body fluid like blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions. It is usually through unprotected sex that a non-infected person gets affected from a HIV positive person. The virus can also enter through a shared common needle.
It is dangerous when the baby contracts this disease when the infected mother is nursing him. It is a complicated situation when a woman who has tested negative during her pregnancy tenure happens to infect her child while breastfeeding him. This is why it is extremely important to go for an HIV screening test before becoming pregnant so that the baby has the maximum chance to lead an uninfected life.
How is HIV Testing Done?
The objective of the screening is to detect whether the blood contains antibodies to the HIV. It has been found that almost all, that is, 90-95% people who happen to get infected with HIV develops a sufficient amount of antibodies within three months of contracting the virus. So, the presence of antibodies confirms that the presence of the virus. So after a lapse of these initial months they will test positive and over 99% people are likely to test positive within a period of six months of contracting this disease.
The HIV Test Involves Two Steps
Screening test – This is a random test which can be done at home or at the clinic.
Confirmatory test – This is done by the clinic automatically after the screening test. As the name suggests it is a confirmation test that reiterates whether the finding of the screening test is correct by an authorised medical team.
If the confirmatory test reveals the presence of an HIV infection the opinion of a health care provider must be immediately sought. It is important to do it before conception as there is a huge risk of the baby gets infected and not only that the well being of the mother also is liable to be jeopardised.
When you obtain a negative result in the confirmatory test, it entails that the body has no antibodies to the virus. This can mean that there is absolutely no antibodies present in the body and it can also mean that right at that time; there are not enough antibodies that could be thoroughly screened. This is the worst case of all, as the presence of the virus goes undetected and if the individual plans conception and belongs to a risk group at the same time, the proposition gets even more compounded.
If the woman is infected, she can be effectively treated before her pregnancy. Even if the woman contracts this virus after her conception, there are medications to protect the fetus from getting infected. Stringent care must be taken to maintain a restrained sexual behavior all throughout.