How AIDs affects Foetus development

High School ・Biology ・MLA ・7 Sources

The Impact of AIDS on Pregnancy

The only option among the teratogens is AIDs. This is because it can affect about a quarter of all women in the United States regardless of the downturn of the trends, and it can also affect the growth of the foetus. According to the CDC (2016), majority of the newer HIV infections are from heterosexual intercourse and it is prevalent but disproportionate among white, African, and Latino women. Although the rates of HIV in American women reduce by 40% between 2005 and 2014, the vice is still dominant and is still a severe threat to the development of the foetus in pregant women due to mother-child- transmissinos.

Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

The foetus usually experiences the risk of prenatal HIV that usually happens during pregnancy, labor, or even delivery and breastfeeiding. This is known as Mother-to-child trasnmission. CDC has since recommended that all women who are either pregnant or planning to get pregnant should seek earlier HIV diagnosis as soon as possible for necessary measures to be taken against possible transmission of the disease to the fetus or newborn (CDC, 2016). The reason for such a call is that more rapid diagnosis of the disease enables effective treatment of the condition using effective HIV drugs called antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of HIV/AIDS Medications

The potential short-term effects of HIV/AIDS medications include feeling weary, nausea, diarrhea, headache, fever, muscle pain, insomnia as well as occasional dizziness. On the other hand, the long-term effects include kidney problems such as kidney failure, damage to the liver, heart diseases, diabetes, increase in the level of blood fats, alterations in the way the body stores and utilizes fats, weak bones, and psychiatric effects. However, such mental effects may include insomnia, depression, as well as dizziness.

Risk Factors for Fetal HIV Infection

The infection of the fetus with HIV depends on the risk behaviors of the mother which is why the risk factors for fetus HIV infection entirely rely on the risk behaviors of the mother. The infection by HIV/AIDS has no boundaries and affects all ages, races, sex and sexual orientations that include heterosexuals and same sexual relationships. Various risk factors include having unprotected sex with an infected person, having other STIs such as syphilis, using intravenous drugs such as cocaine, and lack of male circumcision (Bukatko & Daehler, 2012). Having unprotected sex exposes with an infected husband or man means having sex without using either a new latex or polyurethane condom whenever one engaged in sexual activity. It is important to acknowledge that anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex hence gays and lesbians are more exposed to STIs than heterosexuals. Nevertheless, having multiple sexual partners increases the chances of getting the HIV infection due to the high possibility of having multiple unprotected sexual activities.

Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS

Moreover, having other STIs for the case of women is risky because of such STIs; say syphilis produces open sores in the genitals thus creating an easy entry of the virus into the body of a person. Most individuals who use intravenous drugs share needles and syringes, and the implication is that they are most likely to share droplets of infected blood making the high-risk group than those who exploit extra-venous drugs (WHO, 2017). On the other hand, studies have indicated that male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV/AIDS infections. Therefore, a woman who engaged in unprotected sex with an uncircumcised man is extremely exposed to the virus compared to one whose man is circumcised. The choice of a sexual partner is critical when it comes to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, for instance, a sexual worker is profoundly exposed to the virus and having unprotected sex with such a group of persons is highly likely to expose one to HIV infection.

Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission

Those who drink alcohol and use recreational drugs are more exposed to the disease because such substances alter judgment and may end up having unprotected sex with an infected person. However, an infected pregnant woman is likely to infect her unborn child either before or after through breastfeeding. Consequently, it is advisable that a pregnant woman gets diagnosis as soon as she gets pregnant so that she can be put on appropriate and safe medications to ensure that the fetus does not get the infection (APA, 2000). According to an online charity organization that has dedicated its efforts in preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS, AVERT, 90 percent of children infected with HIV were either infected during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding (AVERT, 2016). It is estimated that without prenatal HIV diagnosis and treatment during pregnancy, about 30 percent of newborns will be infected during pregnancy and childbirth, and 20 percent would get the disease through breastfeeding.

Advancements in Technology and HIV/AIDS

However, with the advanced in technology, HIV/AIDS is increasingly becoming less of a problem since new medications that have been developed so far. For instance, technology has enabled the discovery of more effective ARTs making the future of infected persons more promising than before. The use of electronic health records (HER) systems has improved the tracking of HIV patients' medical history for better diagnosis and treatment. The integration of clinical decision support (CDS) alerts into the EHRs of HIV patients has significantly improved their health outcomes (Ford & Spicer, 2012). The mobile technology through short messaging systems has been utilized in sending signals to HIV patients regarding critical information on HIV treatment, dosage, awareness programs, and stigmatization. Such efforts have also improved the patient activation, knowledge, skill as well as confidence in managing own health. Consequently, the use of technology has improved HIV patient outcomes through medication adherence that is vital for the treatment success (US Public Health Service Task Force, 2005). Notably, technology has enabled the production of ARVs at cheaper costs and has made it possible for HIV patients from humble backgrounds especially from the developing countries to access medication.

Preventing Fetal HIV Infection

The only way fetus can get HIV infection from the mother is either during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Prospective parents should be cautious enough to know their HIV status immediately before or soon after pregnancy so that she can receive the necessary medications that would help prevent transmission if the virus to the child (WHO, 2017). However, a prospective woman who intends to sire children must also ensure that just in case she is tested positive during her pregnancy, she should make sure that besides pregnancy medications, her baby received HIV medication called Retrovir within a span of 6-12 hours after birth. Nonetheless, after receiving Retrovir, a mother should use other strategies for avoiding mother-to-child transmission. They include breastfeeding and giving her child foods chewed by HIV-infected persons and instead ensures that she uses the infant formula that is safe and healthy hence serves as the best alternative to breastfeeding. While less than 200 babies are born with HIV infection in the US, most HIV-positive mothers use the infant formula instead of breastfeeding in their bid to prevent mother-to-child infection.


American Psychiatric Association.[APA]. (2000). Practice guideline for the treatment of patients with HIV/AIDS. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.
AVERT. (2016). Global information and education on HIV and AIDS. Retrieved from
Bukatko, D., & Daehler, M. W. (2012). Child development: A thematic approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
CDC. (2016). HIV Among Pregnant Women, Infants, and Children. Retrieved from
Ford, M. A., & Spicer, C. M. (2012). Monitoring HIV Care in the United States: Indicators and Data Systems. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
US Public Health Service Task Force. (2005). Recommendations for use of antiretroviral drugs in pregnant HIV-infected women for maternal health and interventions to reduce perinatal HIV transmission in the United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 47, 1-30.
WHO.(2017). HIV/AIDS: Mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Retrieved from

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