Tuesday, April 17, 2007

HIV people CAN have children...

There are two myths I want to debunk.

1. HIV people are just going to die.
2. HIV people don't deserve to have children because they'll just pass on the virus.

Just chatting to friends, it amazes me sometimes how ignorant we all are about HIV. That includes certain Doctor friends - and I'm not harping on about promiscuous behaviour. I'm talking about the understanding of where modern medicine has got us. Basically, to the point where people who are infected with HIV can lead normal, healthy lives. And have children if they want to.

This all sparked off from an article I read in the Sunday Times on the 18th March 2007. I can't find it now - but it basically covered the heart-warming story of an HIV positive couple, living in a Cape Town township who were too poor to afford the correct medical means to have a baby when you're living with the disease - but did the best they could.

They both took ARV's, got their viral loads as low as possible and had a baby. An HIV negative baby.

Now, the proper way to do it would be full doctor co-operations, ARV's, sperm washing and in vitro, optimal birthing conditions and PMTCT care (Preventing Mother To Child Transmission). PMTCT includes the use of Nevirapine (or other), formula feeding and other safety precautions. These decrease risk - right down to 1% or less if followed correctly. It's a decision the parents have to make, nobody can make it for them.

The couple from Cape Town couldn't afford the sperm washing and in vitro. Luckily everything went well.

So, even though this is not the entirely safe way to go about things - surely it acts as a beacon of light to the ignorant amoung us. HIV people can lead normal lives, have children and live a long time with the correct medication. It's not a death sentence.

The sooner we realise that, the closer we come to de-stigmatising the disease that is not going to go away.

I'm just little me. Hopefully someone will listen.

12 comments:

Ewan said...

I think this post is great, kudos to you for simply stating the facts. I know AIDs isn't a death sentence, but I keep running into supposedly educated people who believe otherwise. I didn't know you could reduce the chance of mother-to-child transmission to 1%, but thanks to this post (and further reading on wikipedia, which doesn't even mention sperm washing) I do now.

sa doc said...

Glad you enjoyed... Someone should update Wiki.

joey gough said...

Great Post!So good in fact i am going to post it in my site & war on HIV-AIDS.GODBless U & yours & have a great day eh!

M&M said...

Great to see you debunking the myths...and great site too!! Some days very funny!

Andy Hadfield said...

Thanks Joey - why don't you drop us a link and we'll check out your site?

Andy Hadfield said...

Hey M&M - debunking is what we're all about baby. No, seriously, it was an issue that was quite close to SA Doc's heart - can get frustrating I suppose. In south africa, we have a particularly low level of education in terms of HIV - that leads to stigma etc.etc.

Champagne Heathen said...

Aah, thanks again for a great post on an important theme! I've directed my dodgy readers over to this post so hopefully they arrive & comment. And yes, yes, it would've been technologically intelligent to do that link thing but I have yet to get you to teach me how...

Simon said...

Some HIV drug can prevent HIV from infecting child. No breastfeeding is OK. You may check my HIV blog for more info.

sa doc said...

Yip. Nevirapine is one...

Anonymous said...

thank you for this helpful advice I have hiv im only 18 and taught I could never have a kid but now I know thanks .

jay

3d ultrasounds said...

Great article, I think you covered everything there.

S said...

Hello, Thank you so much for writing this article. I found out 2 years back that I am HIV positive and ever since have been really depressed about not being able to start a family. Your article made me cry, in a good way, it lets me know that there is hope for women out there like me. I truly enjoyed this

Thank you Again

S