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Obstetric Care of Patients with HIV Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Appropriate management of pregnant patients who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease can have a major impact on maternal and infant health. The goals of therapy are to properly manage the pregnancy, treat the maternal HIV infection and minimize the risk of vertical transmission of HIV. Early detection of HIV through aggressive screening programs is necessary to initiate timely therapy. Zidovudine therapy given antepartum and intrapartum to the mother and after birth to the newborn has been shown to decrease the risk of vertical transmission. Evidence suggests that more aggressive antiretroviral therapy for the mother, which allows suppression of viral loads to undetectable levels, may be safe and may provide significant additional benefits. However, treatment needs to be individualized, weighing the possible teratogenic risks against the benefits of decreased transmission. Multiple prospective cohort studies support elective cesarean section as an additional means to decrease vertical transmission, but its role in relation to other therapies has not been determined. As in nonpregnant patients infected with HIV, prevention of opportunistic infections and adequate psychosocial support are essential.

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