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Childbirth Safety Is Linked to Viral Load

Childbirth Safety Is Linked to Viral Load


HIV-positive pregnant women who have an undetectable viral load could be able to safely have their babies through vaginal delivery and not risk passing the virus to their infants, according to U.K. researchers. Reporting at the 11th Annual Conference of the British HIV Association, the researchers said that none of 24 HIV-positive women with a viral load under 50 who gave birth to 32 children at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital between 1999 and 2004 transmitted the virus to their babies. 'With careful monitoring of women throughout pregnancy and during labor, the risk of HIV transmission with a planned vaginal delivery is very low,' the researchers concluded. Because of this, women with an undetectable viral load at the 36th week of pregnancy could safely be offered the option of vaginal childbirth, they said. For women with higher viral levels, cesarean-section deliveries are usually recommended.

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