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We owe it to our children to protect ourselves so they aren’t born with transmitted diseases.

Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is when a woman infected with HIV transmits HIV to her baby during preg­nancy, during labor and delivery, or by breastfeeding. Be­cause HIV can be transmitted through breast milk, women infected with HIV should not breastfeed their babies. In the United States, baby formula is a safe and healthy alternative to breast milk.

Although the risk is very low, HIV can also be transmitted to a baby through food that was previously chewed (pre­chewed) by a mother or caretaker infected with HIV. To be safe, babies should not be fed pre-chewed food.

HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact, such as hugging and closed-mouth kissing. HIV also cannot be transmitted by items such as toilet seats, door knobs, or dishes used by a person infected with HIV.

HIV testing is recommended for all pregnant women. HIV testing is provided to pregnant women in two ways: opt-in or opt-out testing. In areas with opt-in testing, women may be offered HIV testing. Women who accept testing will need to sign an HIV testing consent form. In areas with opt-out testing, HIV testing is automatically included as part of rou­tine prenatal care. With opt-out testing, women must specifically ask not to be tested and sign a form refusing HIV testing. he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that opt-out testing be provided to all pregnant women.

Ask your health care provider about HIV testing in your area. If HIV opt-out testing is not available, ask to be tested for HIV.

For more information, visit our FAQ page.

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