World Aids Day 1st December! Educating yourself is the best thing you can do to help beat the stigma
It is World Aids Day this weekend. Every year it takes place on 1st December. Most people dont pay attention because it hasn't affected them.
I have worked within the HIV world for almost ten years as a Client Support Worker and Case worker at the Sussex Beacon, a charity that provides specialist care and support for people living with HIV. I still work there alongside my self employed work, I now do shifts on the ten bed inpatient unit.
Being World Aids Day, I thought I'd gather some information together about HIV and pregnancy, because how many of us really understand HIV?
Do you know you can't catch it from silly things like toilet seats? which was a ridiculous rumour I remember from school. Or from drinking out the same cup?! Even sex doesn't always transmit it if the person with the virus is undetectable with their viral load and their partner is healthy.
The viral load is the amount of virus present in the blood. If a person with HIV takes antiretroviral treatment it breaks the cycle of the virus.
If a person doesn't take their antiretroviral treatment the viral load will rise and the risk of transmitting the virus increases.
Did you know, as long as a pregnant woman living HIV takes her anti retroviral medication she is unlikely to pass HIV through to her baby in utero. She can have a natural birth too!
Without taking antiretroviral treatment there is a 35 to 40% chance of the baby contracting HIV via the placenta.
Did you know a man living with HIV can also have a baby as long as his viral load is undetectable from treatment!
There is so much about HIV the general public dont know, and our children don't know.
NAT UK Statistics (www.nat.org.uk/we-inform/HIV-statistics/UK-statistics) say in 2018, it was estimated that there are 103 800 people living with HIV in the UK. 97% of people receive treatment. Of the amount of people in the UK living with HIV receiving treatment one third identify as women. I'd urge you to find out more about HIV and pregnancy, and HIV in general. The best thing you can do is educate yourself, as believe it or not frustratingly the stigma is still there!