HIV Testing Singapore: Here’s what you need to Know about HIV Testing for Pregnant Mothers
If you’re an expectant mother or trying to get pregnant, HIV testing is among the STI tests you will need to protect your health and that of your baby. Usually, it is necessary regardless of the prevalence of HIV in your area or your risk factors.
The Health Advisory Clinic offers HIV testing in Singapore to all people, including pregnant mothers. If diagnosed with HIV, the physicians in the facility will prescribe effective treatments to improve your health. The treatments can also help prevent you from passing this virus over to your infant.
When should a Pregnant Woman get tested for HIV?
If it’s your first pregnancy, timing the appropriate time to get your HIV testing in Singapore may be slightly daunting. Fortunately for you, there are clinicians who will be more than willing to help you with this.
Here are the instances when you will need HIV testing when trying to get pregnant or when already pregnant.
During your first OB visit
HIV testing will be necessary on your first OB visit when pregnant or trying to conceive. You will also need to regularly get the tests because it is possible to transmit the virus to your infant when you’re still pregnant, during the birth process or when breastfeeding it. Important interventions like the use of antiretroviral medication combinations can help improve your health and prolong your survival if you test positive.
During your Third Trimester
It would be best if you got your second HIV screening during your third trimester, most preferably, <36 weeks of your gestation. This test is even more important if;
- You are at higher risks of contracting HIV, for instance, if you have multiple sex partners, if your sexual partner is living with HIV, and if you’ve met a new sexual partner or shared sex toys.
- If you have symptoms that are consistent with those observed in patients with acute HIV infection.
HIV testing in Singapore at a reputable sexual health clinic is also necessary during labor. This test is even more important if;
- You don’t have any documented HIV status when you go into labor
- You met a new sexual partner(s) or
- Shared sex toys or injecting objects like needles
If your rapid HIV test is reactive, you will need additional follow up tests, which will help determine virus load in your system and the virus genotype or drug resistance.
Protecting your Baby during Childbirth if you’re diagnosed with HIV
There is a massive chance you may transmit HIV to your baby during delivery. Fortunately for you, there are a few things that can help to reduce this risk significantly.
First, if you’re diagnosed with HIV, the most important thing you will need to observe is taking your treatments correctly as prescribed by your clinician. Studies show that taking antiretroviral drugs prescribed by a qualified physician can reduce the risks transmitting HIV to your baby during birth to less than 1 percent.
After birth, the physicians will also prescribe treatments, which the baby will need to take for around four to six weeks. It is important to observe this to protect the health of the infant.
You may consider vaginal delivery during delivery if you took your medications well and reduced your viral load to undetectable viral load. This is primarily important because of the significantly reduced risks of passing over HIV to the baby through vaginal delivery.
On the contrary, a cesarean section may be ideal if your HIV testing in Singapore results showed that you do not have an undetectable viral load. Cesarean section is considered to have lesser risks of passing the virus over to the baby if you do not have an undetectable viral load.
Protecting your Baby When Breastfeeding if you’re diagnosed with HIV
It is important to know that if you tested positive, your breast milk would contain HIV. However, you can do a few things to minimize the risks of transmitting the virus to the baby through breast milk.
First, you will need to have the baby tested for HIV immediately after birth. You can then schedule another HIV testing in Singapore for the baby after about four to six weeks.
If the baby isn’t diagnosed with HIV, you will need to schedule another test at 18 months, and when you’ve stopped breastfeeding. If the tests come back positive, it is prudent that the baby begins treatments immediately.
Here’s what you can do to protect your baby from HIV when breastfeeding;
If you can access clean boiled water and formula, do not breastfeed the baby. Instead, give it the formula.
If you can’t always access clean, boiled water and formula, you and the baby will need to be on antiretroviral medications when you breastfeed it. When breastfeeding, be sure to take your medications as prescribed and give your baby just the breast milk for at least six months. You should not mix the breast milk with other foods before six months as this would increase its risks of getting HIV.
We Can Help
Contracting HIV is most possibly one of the worst things that can happen to your baby from a very young age. You can however protect it from all that by taking the necessary measures if you’re sick. If you’re trying to get pregnant or already pregnant, call us today to book a session for HIV testing in Singapore.