HIV (Human Immunodeficiency) is a virus that damage cells and our immune system. It also weakens the body ability to be able to fight infections and diseases. HIV can be primarily transmitted through the means of sexual intercourse. HIV is a virus that develops to AIDS if not treated as early as possible, the virus is most commonly passed from person to another person through the means of bodily fluids during sex, it can also be passed on through blood to blood contact, often by sharing needles or injecting drugs or equipment and breastmilk, HIV can be passed from mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.
HIV virus is a very serious issue that affects people’s lives, especially women in the UK, there are about 101,200 people living with HIV in the UK and of that 69 % are men and 39% are women, and of the 13% were undiagnosed therefore were not aware of they were living with this condition. HIV is a severe matter to women who are pregnant with this virus. Getting pregnant with this virus can be very dangerous for both mother and baby. Therefore, getting tested should be mandatory and can be beneficial to keeping the mother and baby healthy throughout the pregnancy. If the mother gets tested positive, then there is provision for the mother and baby good treatment with care and support which can reduce the risk to the low level for the baby achieving the best possible health outcomes also depends on early diagnoses and contribute to early treatment. This process is easy and will be the most important decision that the mother can make in her life. (NHS, Terrence Higgins Trust). Therefore, it’s important for the mother to get tested as early as possible so that they can both be supported and care for throughout the pregnancy.
When women first realised they are pregnant they seek for medical attention immediately, this is because they feel that it is important to do that or just because this is what they are brought up to do, for reason, some of the pregnant women may ask to get tested for many reasons and they want to know if their baby is doing fine, Most of the pregnant women only do the minimum required testing, and that they also think that if there are any issues that may occur that their GP will notify them. I think that yes this may be true, but it should also be the responsibility of the pregnant women to own up to their responsibility to look after their health and be aware of their body.
This is because infected pregnant women pass the HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery and through breastfeeding. In UK its medically advice the infected mother not to breastfeed rather bottle fed (formula Milk), Remember that HIV cannot be cured or vaccination but can be treated due to advances in treatment and understanding at least pregnant women living with HIV can expect a comparable life expectancy as someone who is HIV free, but if most of the infected pregnant people not get treated as soon as possible AS there are great chances they will develop an AIDS because of their infection. During that period the baby in the womb is most vulnerable from the birth until they have reached approx. six months. Because the child immune system and body are more sensitive to get infected easily in a way that where their bodies are not due to certain things and that is why the baby is the higher risk of getting infected, If the baby gets infected while in the womb, then their life chances will be reduced, But as a mother who may be aware of their disease when finding out about their pregnancy status then their Doctor will immediately put both the mother and the baby on intensive care such as prescribing drugs to be administering during the pregnancy such as antepartum ART, antiretroviral drugs to reduce the risk of perinatal transmission and Zidovudine prophylaxis for the infant born to mother to suppress viremia during pregnancy which this case the baby in the womb is becoming less infected.
Though the cost of treating someone especially mother and baby with HIV in the UK is estimated at around £18,000 per year, and as new improved drugs are becoming available then the cost of antiretroviral treatment is also increasing. This is important irrespective of the cost also remember that we are talking about health here. Remember that if the disease goes without untreated for a very long period of time then it can become very dangerous for the mother most especially the baby so therefore, I strongly agree to the idea of pregnant women getting tested HIV and I personally believe that getting tested for others such as STD, and all other types of diseases should be mandatory as well when dealing with pregnancy. I feel this way because, if somebody wants to be a good mother enough that will also care about their children or child they should endeavour to do everything possible by taking care and having precaution for the baby early before everything will be complicated that will result that the baby life chances will be lessened to the point where nothing can be done to in order to help to with the situation, therefore women should get mandatory HIV tested.
The campaign success as part of public health is also important to raise awareness and as part of HIV wider community the PHE was funded to prevent HIV BY Terrence Higgins Trust, it delivers a nationally coordinated programme of HIV prevention to work with African people and gay-related men. The campaign aims to raise awareness HIV testing, use of condoms use and other preventive measures in place to reduce the rate of HIV.
On the other hand, pregnant women have their right, as human rights need to be considered and they should be offered a choice not to force them in getting tested. Pregnant women also have right to challenge the view of the others, with the availability increase rate of ART therapy and there should also be the consideration and the level of impact in the life of the pregnant women. There is no sufficient consideration as to the effect or impact it will have on the pregnant women and their families. Many pregnant women feel that they are been pressurised into the HIV testing during the pregnancy stage and they don’t receive enough pre-test counselling support and, they are not being properly informed and their consent into it. Most of the pregnant women who may have tested positive to the HIV may experience or face more stigma and discrimination in their life especially for their partners, friends, community and family’s members that other men who may have tested positive to the HIV testing. Because of that consequences, the immense number of pregnant women diagnosed during pregnancy don’t let their spouses or husband know about their status because they are afraid or fear of blame of being abandoned, neglect, physical assault and abuse.
The pregnant women do sure do disclose of their HIV status may also face dramatic consequences and negatively repercussion for telling them the truth and the on their own children’s well-being may be affected. Therefore, it is unfair to for pregnant women to test for HIV during the pregnancy solely or mainly to aid in preventing perinatal transmission and if there are no adequate support and availability resources and support services that may protect the pregnant women’s right, and which will also enable them to have full access to amenities and live healthy life after an HIV diagnosis and to engage them in the new era of programme and policies that affect pregnant women’s lives. There’s a need to create changes in the universe that encourages HIV Testing before pregnancy so that women in society can be able to make informed choices. Men must also be brought into the testing process through couple counselling before pregnancy and provide voluntary counselling and testing programmes outside the antenatal care setting. In addition, people living with HIV have a unique expertise and are very effective as colleague counsellors. They have been underutilised in the health care sector to provide support to diagnosed people and to help eliminate AIDS-related shame and stigma in the community.