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Contraception, conception and pregnancy

Becoming a parent of a healthy, HIV-negative child is now a very realistic option for many people with HIV. However, you may want to plan when pregnancy happens, or avoid pregnancy happening at all.

Contraception

There are some particular issues for people living with HIV to take into account when choosing a contraceptive method.

Properly used male or female condoms are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, as well as preventing the transmission of HIV and most sexually transmitted infections. In addition to male and female condoms, there are many other types of contraception available to HIV-positive women, including some hormonal methods such as the pill, injections and implants.

Several anti-HIV drugs and antibiotics interfere with the way some hormonal contraceptives work, and can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive. You should ask your healthcare team about your options if you are considering a hormonal contraceptive. You can find out more about your particular options by using NAM’s online tool HIV & contraception. You can also read more about this topic in our booklet HIV & women.

Conception and pregnancy

If you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, it's very important to find out how you can reduce the risk of passing HIV on to your baby and to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. It’s a good idea to start discussing your options with your doctor or other members of your healthcare team as soon as you start thinking about having a baby.

Knowing how HIV treatment can reduce the risk of passing on the virus can help you decide how to conceive. Couples where one person has HIV and the other does not may consider having sex without a condom. Having sex without a condom only on days when the woman is ovulating and at her most fertile is a way of minimising any risk if one or both of you are concerned about the risk. (See Undetectable viral load and infectiousness for more information.)

HIV can be passed on from a woman living with HIV to her baby. However, with effective HIV treatment, care and support, the risk of this happening is very low. You have the best chance of having an HIV-negative baby by:

  • taking HIV treatment during your pregnancy and achieving an undetectable viral load
  • having a managed vaginal birth if you have an undetectable viral load, or a planned caesarean section
  • choosing not to breastfeed.

You can get personalised information about how to get pregnant safely and prevent passing HIV on to your baby by using NAM’s online tool, HIV & pregnancy. The booklet HIV and women also covers these and other issues about conception, pregnancy and birth, in more detail.

HIV & sex

Published January 2016

Last reviewed January 2016

Next review January 2019

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.