Are You Infected?
You could have an STD and not even know it -- or that it can harm your unborn baby
Stats About 7,000 women with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, give birth each year.
Symptoms Those infected usually don't have symptoms (though some may have a brief flu-like illness) because it takes time for the virus to wear down the immune system. Untreated, HIV depletes immunity, increasing vulnerability to infection and disease.
Testing Blood or saliva test. If you prefer private testing, the Home Access Test is FDA approved. (Available in pharmacies, at homeaccess.com
Risks Babies can acquire HIV from their mothers in utero, during labor and delivery, or through breast milk. About 20 percent of infected infants develop AIDS in the first year of life and die before the age of 4.
Treatment The drug zidovudine (AZT, ZDV, Retrovir) has reduced the mother-to-baby transmission rate to less than 5 percent. Antiretroviral drugs can strengthen a woman's immunity and further reduce transmission risk.