How to protect yourself and your baby from HIV

 

Nearly 7,500 adolescent girls, ages 15-24, are infected with HIV each week, the vast majority of them live in sub-Saharan Africa.

300 babies are infected with HIV each day in sub-Saharan Africa.

You don’t have to become one of these statistics. Making healthy choices can protect you and your baby from HIV.

 

 

Make sure you and your partner test for HIV and consistently practice safer sex, always using condoms correctly as well as dual protection.

 

If you are pregnant, test for HIV. Knowing your status, and if HIV positive taking antiretroviral treatment, is the only way to protect your baby from infection and keep yourself healthy.

 

Visit a health centre for antenatal care in the first three months of your pregnancy, and attend at least four antenatal appointments before giving birth. That will give your baby a healthy start.

 

Disclose your HIV status to your family and partner. We know it’s hard, but letting those closest to you know what your antiretroviral treatment is for will make it easier for you to take it and to follow up with proper choices for your baby’s health.

 

If you are HIV positive, it is recommended that you feed your baby only breast milk through the first six months while taking your antiretroviral treatment. Do not give your baby a mixture of breast milk and formula or solids because that makes them much more vulnerable to HIV infection.

 

 If you are HIV positive, test your baby for HIV at the recommended times until he/she is 18-24 months and has stopped breastfeeding.

 

 

If Mentor Mothers from mothers2mothers (m2m) are working at your health centre or in your community, they will make sure you have the education and support you need to protect your baby from HIV and stay healthy. You might feel alone and frightened after your diagnosis, but Mentor Mothers are there to help.

 

Mentor Mothers are HIV-positive mothers who understand first hand the challenges of living with HIV and are there to help you through this difficult time.

 

m2m helps many adolescent girls and young women. Some m2m sites employ young women as Peer Mentors.

 

 

m2m has almost entirely eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV among our clients, and has been proven to help mothers and babies stay healthy.

 

 

m2m provides services in Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia.

To find the m2m site closest to you, email sa.info@m2m.org

Here is a list of m2m sites in South Africa