Housewife and influencer Jéssica Rodrigues Mattar, 31, is pregnant with her third child, Maria Eduarda. The young woman, from Além Paraíba, Minas Gerais, discovered she had HIV in May 2021, after bleeding. Since then, Jessica has decided to openly talk about it on TikTok, so that people can learn more about the virus. “Helping enriches the soul,” she says.
Jessica has over 51,000 followers and has 736,000 likes for her content on the app. In one of her videos, posted on Dec. 9, she explained that because she had the virus, even though it was undetectable, she couldn’t breastfeed her daughter. “The government provides formula until the baby is six months old. And she provides medicine for the mother to take and dry the milk,” she wrote in the caption of the video.
To date, this, which is one of his most popular videos, has 2.1 million views and over a thousand comments. Among them, many doubts. “Please explain. What do you mean not detectable?”, he wrote a user. “I’m glad people are learning from the comments, but there’s still a lot of ignorance about this,” said another.
OR Live well she spoke to experts and listed below what you need to know about pregnancy and people who have HIV:
1. HIV undetectable x detectable
According to Marcelo Otsuka, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, undetectable HIV is a sign that the viral infection is under control. This happens because it is possible to have the infection without clinical manifestations and without viral circulation in our body.
Gynecologist and obstetrician Etã Galvão adds that undetectable HIV is a good sign for future pregnancies, because it means that the viral load is less than 40 copies per milliliter of blood or less.
2. Is it possible not to transmit the virus to the child?
Yes. But Otsuka explains that even when it’s undetectable, as in Jessica’s case, treatment is needed so that the child doesn’t develop the disease. These include medications during pregnancy, childbirth and even for the newborn.
“Today, vertical transmission prophylaxis is well established, so there are protocols to follow. The ideal delivery is a caesarean section with rupture of the sac. The baby is washed early and invasive procedures are avoided,” says Sophia Garim, pediatrician and neonatologist.
Brazil has HIV and neonatal syphilis eradication program with prizes for cities that meet targets aimed at this goal, says infectologist pediatric. For this to happen, both the pregnancy and the newborn need to be monitored. As well as taking care of the mother and baby medications.
As with any pregnancy, family support and care is also needed. “Unfortunately, HIV is still a disease with great stigma, which alienates people. Therefore, it is clear that it is necessary to have a favorable family environment for the arrival of this child,” says the infectious disease specialist.
3. Can the partner not take it?
If the HIV-positive person has adequate treatment, regular checkups with tests, and if the burden is undetectable, their partner may not get the virus.
Jessica’s current partner was scared as soon as he received the news that he had HIV. She has been tested and does not have the virus, so the couple is serodiverse, one living with HIV and the other not. Today she accepts the situation and is excited about the birth of her daughter.
4. Is pregnancy risky?
Pregnancy in people with HIV is considered at risk, as it must be carefully monitored to check the health of the pregnant woman and the child, for example avoiding the side effects of drugs on the mother. This is what the pediatrician and neonatologist Sophia Gairim points out.
Emphasize that both pregnant and non-pregnant women living with HIV have treatments covered by the Unified Health System (SUS). And he reiterates that SUS provides formula for babies up to six months old.
5. Breastfeeding for HIV
For the mother who has HIV, Garim reports that breastfeeding is one of the few contraindications. And, according to the gynecologist and obstetrician Etiene Galvão, it is not indicated to breastfeed even if there is a diagnosis of undetectable virus. This is because, even if undetectable, it can still be transmitted to the newborn through breastfeeding.
Pregnancy continues to be considered at risk due to the possibility of vertical transmission from mother to child in three situations: pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. The rate of vertical transmission is even decreasing in Brazil, the expert points out.
6. HIV and AIDS
People, mainly teenagers, are reaching out to Jessica for help and advice about the virus, as her content seeks informational bias. It is necessary to clarify the disease and how to prevent it, as well as educate children living with HIV infection and avoid diseases caused by the virus, such as AIDS.
HIV doesn’t kill, but AIDS does. I lost a very loved one to AIDS shortly after my diagnosis, and I promised myself that I would try to help people so they didn’t die. I want to create an NGO to welcome people with the virus who suffer from prejudice and need help. Jessica Mattar, housewife and influencer
Brazil has seen a decline in HIV infections, but cases have risen among young people. As regards the detection rate of AIDS, ie when the disease is already in the manifestation stage, the highest concentration is also recorded among young people.
Therefore, to improve quality of life and prevent HIV, the use of condoms during sexual intercourse is recommended. The cure is valid so that there is no transmission of the virus and also to avoid other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
Sources: Etã Galvão, doctor graduated from the UFPB (Federal University of Paraíba) with residency in gynecology and obstetrics and title of specialist in gynecology and obstetrics; he is currently a retired professor of gynecology in the UFPB’s Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics; coordinator professor of the Women’s Health module at Unipê (University Center of João Pessoa) and coordinator professor of Women’s Care at FCM Unicamp (Faculty of Medical Sciences); Sofia Blanco Gairim, pediatrician and neonatology, graduated in medicine from the UNISA Faculty of Medicine (University of Santo Amaro), with medical residency in pediatrics at the Hospital das Clínicas of the USP Faculty of Medicine (University of São Paulo) and neonatology at the Ospedale das Clínicas da Faculdade of Medicine of the USP; she is also a specialist in integrative pediatrics; Marcellus Otsukapediatric infectologist and technical director of health II at HIDV (Hospital Infantil Darcy Vargas), master’s degree in pediatrics at FCMSCSP (Faculty of Medical Sciences of Santa Casa de São Paulo), vice president of the Department of Infectious Diseases SPSP (Sociedade de Pediatria de São Paulo) , member of the Departments of Vaccinations and Legal Pediatrics at SPSP, coordinator of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Committee at SBI (Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases), ICHS (The International Immunocompromised Host Society) and SLIPE (Latin American Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases).
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