The Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, has advised women who wish to get pregnant, to first check their HIV status.
Speaking to KMJ on Prime Morning Tuesday, the Dr. Atuahene stressed on the necessity for a woman to know her HIV status before getting pregnant.
“…if you live with HIV, you have to know before you take seed,” he admonished.
His reason is that, if a woman has HIV and gets pregnant, it can create many complications for both the would-be mother and the unborn child.
The Director-General advised that after a woman has tested her status and is positive, she should plan with her doctor before getting pregnant.
By so doing, the woman will be given treatment and medications that she will constantly take, so as to subdue the viral load.
This, according to the doctor, will reduce the danger of transferring the virus to the child.
“…and it’s also important that you become virally suppressed. You have to have an undetectable viral load and maintain the viral load’s undetectable status. If you don’t maintain the viral suppressed status, then you risk transmitting the virus to your unborn baby,” Dr. Atuahene said.
“So it’s important to talk to your doctor, your midwife, or the nurses who take care of you at the antenatal clinic, to help you understand the decision you have made to become a mother,” he stated.
The doctor further advised pregnant women to attend antenatal clinics throughout their pregnancy term.
He also advised that, “the woman would have to deliver her baby at a hospital where prevention of mother-to-child transmission services are available.”
According to the Director-General, the trained nurses would ensure that the baby is given post-exposure prophylaxis and the right medications within four hours of birth, to protect it against the infection.
He added that the mother, after six weeks of birth, should take the baby to a health facility to have it tested for HIV.
When this is done, the doctor will now take appropriate steps to prevent the baby from getting infected.
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