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HIV and Pregnancy HIV and Pregnancy HIV and Pregnancy Human Immunodeficiency virus, first discovered in 1984, is a retrovirus transmitted in many ways, sexual transmission being the commonest. Though originally found among homosexuals, transmission is now attributed to heterosexual partners (Reynolds, 2004).
Transmission occurs through body fluids like blood, semen, cervical or vaginal discharge and breast milk (Reynolds, 2004). Vertical transmission is thereby possible during pregnancy, labor and breast-feeding period. The gravity of the problem is indicated by the statistics which tell us that 15-20% of infants born to HIV positive women not on retro-viral treatment will be infected during the last trimester of pregnancy and more so in labor. This paper deals with the methods of managing and preventing this incurable disease being transmitted from mother to child during the pregnancy period, during labor and during the infancy period and the role of nurses in this function. The HIV has an affinity for the CD4 cells or the T helper lymphocytes which are the key role players in the body immune response (Reynolds, 2004). HIV later develops into AIDS. The symptoms of the illness are actually symptoms of the opportunistic infections, associated tumors and encephalopathy. Children born to HIV positive women may carry the antibodies for one year. They cannot be considered positive till above one year of age. The Department of Health in UK recommends an HIV test for all pregnant women so nobody can claim lack of awareness of their condition (Hawkins et al, 2005). ...
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