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slightly anxious about HIV test in pregnancy

(29 Posts)
sillyscared Mon 08-Dec-03 13:44:59

i've changed my name for this by the way.

i am pregnant and when i saw the midwife she mentioned that they now offer an HIV test to all pregnant women - although it's not mandatory. i will have the test as it's clearly better to know.

i have not been a promiscuous person and generally used protection but there were a couple of occasions when i was not as careful as i might have been. the last was over 3 years ago. i have never used any drugs or had any blood transfusions.

also i was preg 2 years ago and can't remember if i had a test then. might i have done?

i am really scared about this test and really worried in case my few occasions of not being very careful come back to haunt me with terrifying consequences. can't relax until i have the test.

dinosaur Mon 08-Dec-03 13:51:52

Really don't know whether they would have been offering HIV tests in your area two years ago. They have been offering them where I live (Hackney in East London) for quite a long time as I remember having one when I was pg with DS1, so that is five years ago now.

I don't know enough about what the risks are currently to be able to say whether you're worrying unnecessarily. Presumably you could have some counselling before having the test?

Sorry, not much help I know.

emmatmg Mon 08-Dec-03 13:53:41

I had a test when I was PG with DS2 who is 2.5 years old( and again with DS3 11 weeks) so the chances are you did too.

I also felt anxious about having the test as I had been in similar situations as you have been before I met DH 8 years ago.

I expect the chances of you being infected are very small but I remember they do offer a councelling session for you in case you want to use it, regardless of the result.

Try not to worry and enjoy being PG.

LIZS Mon 08-Dec-03 13:54:16

When I was pregnant with dd 3 years ago they did an HIV test with the other blood tests but with ds 6 years ago they didn't, or at least they may have done for their own purposes but did not give out the results. Chances are you did have it before and are fine.

marsup Mon 08-Dec-03 13:54:50

I think I'd rather know in any case. Especially since (I think) there are drugs that can help protect your baby even if you have it. I can understand it's a scary thought! - but think how happy and relieved you'll feel when you get a reassuring result, as is 99percent sure.

StressyHead Mon 08-Dec-03 13:57:53

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Angeliz Mon 08-Dec-03 14:00:53

emmatmg, would they do the test and not inform you then? (this is all new to me)

emmatmg Mon 08-Dec-03 14:05:50

I know I had to ask for the results with DS2, I just assumed I would have the same result with DS3....unless DH had been playing away. I was really shocked that they didn't volunteer the info as it's obviously quite important. I think they only contact you if the result is bad news!!!

I think they do test annon....(can't spell the whole word) just for national statisics.

norma Mon 08-Dec-03 14:13:34

Well I one think it is appalling that pregnant women are put in this position. Talk about picking on the vulnerable stinks.
I refused my hiv test 2 yrs ago when last pregnant, but then I can be bolshy and am not intimidated by all the rhetoric of how you should think of protecting your baby etc etc.
Why not routinely screen all people of a certain age, male and female irrespective of whether they are pregnant. After all it takes 2 to make a pregnancy.

aloha Mon 08-Dec-03 14:18:56

I think it's normal to feel like this - sex, guilt and babies are a powerful emotional mix. I am convinced you have nothing whatsoever to worry about. Take the test and enjoy the sensation of feeling very very healthy afterwards.

StressyHead Mon 08-Dec-03 14:20:20

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aloha Mon 08-Dec-03 14:21:22

I disagree it is picking on anyone. Women who do have HIV (almost exclusively women who are intravenous drug users and, most usually, women from Africa) can have their babies protected against transmission with fantastic efficacy using retrovirals and c-section. They don't offer it to fathers, because that's irrelevant to the baby by this point. I was nervous about the test (as I say, it's a powerful mix) but it was nice to get a clear result.

Crunchie Mon 08-Dec-03 14:26:13

I would think you probably did have a test last time too, even if you couldn't remember. Bear in mind the reason for doing the test is so they can take steps to ensure your unborn child doesn't get HIV. Not breast feeding and I believe (might be wrong) a C-section, can almost eliminate the risk. I had a test first time around, I don't remember being asked actually!! Second time I had one and asked to see the results!

I have certainly set myself up to catch HIV in my youth. I had unprotected sex (on the pill, but no condom) until about 8 or 9 yrs ago - when I met my dh. I haven't used drugs, but I am quite sure previous partners may have. So if it makes you feel better, you can get HIV from a one night stand or whatever, but it is very very VERY unlikely - please stop worrying, have the test, becasue actually it will put your mind at rest.

sillyscared Mon 08-Dec-03 14:44:02

Thanks everyone this has helped. i will definitely have the test and i do think it's a good thing it's offered. as people have said it is very important that the baby is protected as much as possible.

i won't have counselling now. to be honest i can't remember whether i used protection or not with one particular bloke. i do remember that he had massive problems climaxing (such a big problem that it was memorable poor lad) that it probably reduces the risk anyway. i know i was a bit complacent during that time, and i was also being a bit more carefree after a long relationship that i didn't bother with the usual 3rd degree on sexual history.

i am probably just being paranoid and from all this - i probably did have the test last time but they only tell you the result if it's positive apparently. would prefer if they told you either way!

dinosaur Mon 08-Dec-03 14:45:25

I was told negative both times.

The first time was a bit of a wind-up, the test results had got lost so the midwife was busy phoning round the hospital looking for them and got someone to read them out over the phone - so she didn't have much option but to tell me!

Jimjams Mon 08-Dec-03 15:07:12

When I was pregnant with ds1 4 years ago they didn;t test, but they had introduced it by the time I had ds2. I agree with aloha- tbh I only have to read something to start being convinced I may have it so I was nervous about the test- with very little reason. They gave me the result at the next antenatal visit- just a "oh all your blood tests were fine" and I nosed about in my notes where they had the negative slip.

I think its a good idea- because as aloha says they can dramatically reduce the risk of it being passed on to a baby by delivering by c-section and by not bfeeding. To find out later on you were HIV positive would be awful, but to find out that preventative measures could have dramatically reduced the risk of it being passed on would be devastating if you had passed it onto a child.

I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. As Aloha says enjoy feeling very healthy afterwards

Angeliz Mon 08-Dec-03 15:39:09

if they did it and didn't tell you and it came back positive, would they then tell you?..............slightly anxious mysef now!

lailag Mon 08-Dec-03 16:13:33

copied this from the website of general medical council (bit long despite deleting some stuff)
Antenatal Testing for HIV
November 2000

Most babies with HIV in this country are born to mothers who have not been tested for the virus. If the mother is known to be infected then antiretroviral treatment to mother and baby, avoidance of breastfeeding and elective Caesarian section can reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to baby from 25% to 5%.

There have been a number of initiatives in recent years, by the Department of Health (DoH), the Royal Colleges and other bodies, aimed at increasing the currently low uptake of voluntary antenatal testing, especially in areas of the UK with a higher prevalence of HIV. Most recently the DoH have issued advice in HSC 1999/183: Reducing Mother to Baby Transmission of HIV which sets a national objective of reducing mother to baby transmission by 80% by 2002. It requires Health Authorities and Trusts to take steps to ensure that all pregnant mothers are offered and recommended an HIV test as part of their antenatal care, and that uptake within their local area reaches at least a minimum level.

They explain that obtaining informed consent to testing or other interventions is central to good medical practice. For consent to be ethically and legally valid patients must understand and agree to what is proposed.

Recommending HIV testing in pregnancy should be an integral part of antenatal care, which includes providing information and recommending tests for other infections and abnormalities. Further advice on our guidance can be obtained from the Standards Section by telephoning
020 7915 3568, by fax on 020 7915 3471, or email:

auntynon Mon 08-Dec-03 16:14:14

Sillyscared, have you ever donated blood? if so you're fine as all blood is screened for hiv, you are informed if there are problems with your blood.

Tinker Mon 08-Dec-03 18:46:40

sillyscared - I was only thinking about this last night. I too would be pretty scared to be aware that I was having an HIV test. I'm sure I was tested when I was pregnat nearly 7 years ago but it was done anonymously. I'm sure that I wouldn't have been told the result even if negative.

Have to say the HIV test is the only reason I've avoided giving blood.

twiglett Mon 08-Dec-03 18:51:55

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Tinker Mon 08-Dec-03 18:54:41

I was told it was to be anonymous so, I suppose, they had my consent.

tamum Mon 08-Dec-03 19:16:00

I think it whether you would have been tested before depends very much on where you are, judging by what I've read here. When I had ds I was tested, and he's now 9. It has been routine here for a long time (here being Edinburgh); they ask your consent, and only tell you if it's positive as far as I remember.

Jimjams Mon 08-Dec-03 19:34:55

There are two different HIV tests done. 1) You are asked your consent and told if positve- and often negative as well- you can ask for the result 2) anonymous testing- anyone going for a blood test for anything may have their blood tested for HIV. However the people doing the test have no idea who blood came from. it was introduced to give an idea of HIV numbers in the population. You are not told the result (you can't be as no-one knows where it has come from).

Jimjams Mon 08-Dec-03 19:42:51

Actually there's another one. Theres the one where you go and see a counsellor to decide whether or not to have the tes- you can give a false name- they encourage you to actually, then you go back a week later and get the result from the counsellor. one for my flat mates did that after giving his girlfriend herpes (he was very very promiscuous- Italian - need I say more ) THe was advised to keep it quiet- but he told everyone he was being tested. (Negative).

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