HIV positive women should receive similar obstetric antenatal care to that given to HIV negative women, unless indicated by need to provide specific HIV specific treatments. There is no evidence that for a need to increase the number of antenatal visits, provided there are no complications of the HIV infection, although additional counselling time may be required. The care of HIV positive woman during pregnancy should include ongoing counselling and support as an integral part of management.
In some cases, the symptoms of HIV related diseases may first be detected while a woman is attending antenatal care. In such cases the woman should receive counselling about HIV/AIDS, and its implication for her health and that of her child. The integration of antenatal care, medical care for HIV related conditions, social and psychological support is important.
The topics for such counselling and support should include the following:
Correct explanation of when test result would be expected
Potential modes of transmission, particularly delivery methods and infant feeding
Encouragement to involve her partner or reliable close friend
How to access a support network and continued counselling as necessary
Early reporting of illnesses, HIV related or not e.g. weight loss, diarrhoea
Self-care initiative e.g appropriate nutrition
Current information on the impact of HIV on the mother’s and baby’s health