National Department of Agriculture
Department of Health
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and the farming community

What women should know

How women and babies get HIV/AIDS

The HIV germ is found in:

• blood
• semen
• vaginal fluids.

If any of these fluids pass from an infected person's body into another person's body, the virus may be carried with it.

A woman may become infected through:
• unprotected sexual intercourse
• when infected blood gets into her body, eg through sharing injection needles or blades.

A baby can become infected when the virus passes from its mother:
• during pregnancy
• at birth
• through breastfeeding.

HIV/AIDS and pregnancy

If a woman has HIV/AIDS she must keep in mind that:
• her baby may be born with the virus too
• her husband or partner may also become infected with the virus (if he is not   infected already)
• she may become seriously ill and even die. This means that arrangements may have to be made to care for the children
• pregnancy could damage her health, especially if she is already sick

Discuss your options with a health professional.

You are pregnant and find out that you have HIV/AIDS

There is a chance that your baby could also be infected.
Look after your own health.
Speak to your health-care worker. He could try to reduce the risk of your baby becoming infected by the virus.
Discuss the matter with your husband or partner because he may also be infected.
Make sure that your husband or partner uses condoms if you have sex, because any new HIV infection during pregnancy or breast feeding will increase the risk of the baby getting infected.

Should you have the baby?

If you are pregnant and have HIV/AIDS you may have a legal abortion.
If you choose to have an abortion, discuss the matter with a health-care worker.


For further information contact your nearest health clinic or
AIDS HELPLINE TEL: 0800 012 322


Compiled by Directorate Communication,
National Department of Agriculture in cooperation with Department of Health

Printed and published by National Department of Agriculture and obtainable from
Resource Centre, Directorate Communication, Private Bag X144, Pretoria 0001, South Africa