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Planning a Family

Because there has been great advancement in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, having children is now made possible. This means that HIV positive Australians planning a family can now do so with low risk of HIV transmission to the child or partner.

There are methods that you use to minimise the risk of HIV transmission these include:

  • Taking antiretroviral treatment consistently for an extended period to achieve an undetectable viral load.
  • The HIV negative partner taking antiretroviral treatment to prevent transmission of HIV.
  • Limiting unprotected sex during ovulation as well as taking antiretroviral (ART) medication.
  • Sperm washing, which requires the male partner giving a semen sample to a clinic. The sperm (which does not contain HIV) is then separated from the seminal fluid (which does contain HIV), before the sperm is injected into the woman’s uterus.
  • Self-insemination rather than unprotected sex. Using this process, the male partner ejaculates into a container and the sperm is then inserted into the vagina using a syringe.

If the mother is on treatment, her viral load is undetectable, the baby is born through Cesarean section and the baby is not breastfed then there is low risk of passing on HIV from mother to child (less than one per cent). Options to reduce risk of transmission from an HIV-positive woman to her HIV-negative male partner while trying to conceive include:

When planning a family it is important that you and your partner are aware and understand all options, getting advice from your doctor is important as they will have current information on HIV transmission risk.

Check out the Having children section of Women and HIV or: