Q#2: My wife and I are HIV-positive. We use condoms every time we have sex, so how can we get a child?
Consult a doctor
I will answer these two questions together because the answer is essentially the same. Also, whatever you decide, it should be done in close consultation with a doctor – who will likely recommend in vitro fertilisation, or IVF, as the safest approach.
There is only a small window when couples can get pregnant and it occurs during ovulation in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Day 1 of a woman’s period is the first day of her menstrual cycle. Most women have a cycle of between 22 and 30 days. If a woman has a 28-day cycle, ovulation takes place between days 10 to 14.
For HIV-negative couples who can have unprotected sex all month long, the specific days are not too important. However, in your cases, it’s vital that you know.
Unless you opt for IVF, you will have to have unprotected sex during ovulation so that you can conceive. This is risky because the negative partner might get infected. It’s also risky for a couple who are both HIV-positive since you could catch a different strain of the virus – which is why protected sex is still advocated for partners who are both HIV-positive.
Please sit down with a doctor or a nurse and figure out exactly when you are ovulating so that you only have unprotected sex when there is the maximum chance of conception.
There are also several free apps online that allow women to track their cycles and ovulation periods. I suggest you get one.
Be vigilant about your health
While many HIV-positive mothers have carried pregnancies to term and had healthy babies, they have to be extra vigilant with their health and nutrition. In addition, the dosage of ARVs might have to be adjusted during pregnancy, so again please consult a doctor about your plans.
Thank you so much for your question. I am sure many couples are wondering the exact same thing that you are. I wish you all the best. And please name the baby Valentine – the name works for both boys and girls.
For more questions on HIV and pregnancy, please head to our discussion board.