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Pregnant women with HIV – the use of Retrovir to prevent transmission to your baby

Posted on March 19, 2014

Zidovudine is a prescription anti-HIV medicine commonly sold under the brand name “Retrovir,” and has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of HIV and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Even if a pregnant mother receives no HIV medication or is unaware she has HIV, Retrovir may still be effective if given promptly after birth. Retrovir, like all medications carries a risk of side effects, some of which are serious, including a buildup of acid in the blood, liver problems, and blood disorders.

The risk of transmission from mother to child is reduced if the mother receives Retrovir during pregnancy and childbirth. It may also be recommended for the mother to schedule a Caesarean section and in some cases, to avoid breastfeeding until the baby is tested for HIV. HIV testing for babies at risk is recommended when the baby is between fourteen to twenty-one days old, and then again between one and two months of age. The baby must have two negative test results before an HIV infection can be ruled out. If the baby has a positive HIV test result, he or she will be switched from Retrovir to a combination of HIV medicines also known as antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Do you have a question related to Zidovudine or Retrovir and birth complications? Perhaps we can help, or point you in the right direction.