HIV transmission – Pregnancy or breast-feeding
During pregnancy or birth, a mother with HIV can pass the virus on to her child. HIV can also be transmitted through breast-feeding.
This is why all pregnant women in the Netherlands are routinely tested for HIV, unless they object.
If a pregnant woman has HIV, she can take certain medication, called antiretrovirals, during pregnancy. These lower the amount of virus in the blood, which considerably reduces the chance of the child becoming infected during pregnancy or birth. A Caesar section is usually not necessary to reduce the chance of infection. As a precaution, the baby receives medication against HIV for four weeks after birth. In addition, the mother is advised against breast-feeding the newborn baby since the virus can also be transmitted through breast milk. If all these measures are taken, the chance of the child becoming infected is less than 1%.