OTTAWA, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Featured in the June edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada is a new clinical practice guideline to help doctors, nurses and
midwives assist HIV-positive individuals or couples with their
fertility and pregnancy planning decisions.
People with HIV are now living longer and healthier lives than they were
even a decade ago. This is mostly due to advances in medical
treatments, such as the development of combined antiretroviral therapy
(cART). With this change in life expectancy and quality of life has
come an increasing number of pregnancies for HIV-positive Canadians.
For many years we have understood how to substantially decrease
transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies and this information
has helped fuel recent developments showing that HIV treatment can
reduce transmission between partners ('Treatment as Prevention'). In
fact, the use of cART, selective choice for Caesarean section, as well
as a decision to abstain from breastfeeding, all help drastically
reduce the chances of HIV transmission from mother to baby.
While HIV-positive individuals or couples may have new options to
consider in terms of family planning, they often bear the burden of
additional psychosocial and mental health problems because of the
stigma associated with the condition and the risks of HIV transmission.
"There was a time when it was considered impossible, or at the very
least, unacceptable for HIV-positive parents to consider having a
child. Such views are no longer accurate or appropriate today,
particularly when conception and pregnancy are handled responsibly,"
said Dr. Mark Yudin, one of the principal authors of the new guideline
and chair of the SOGC's Infectious Diseases Committee.
This new guideline provides health-care professionals with the clinical
information and recommendations they need to assist HIV-positive
individuals and couples with their fertility, contraception and
pregnancy planning needs. This document supports the World Health
Organization's statement that "all couples and individuals have the
right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their
children and to have access to the information, education and means to
do so." People living with HIV or AIDS should be no exception.
These patients need extra support to help them effectively manage the
additional fear and stress they may be experiencing. They also require
acess to pregnancy planning and fertility services. Regretfully, access
to these services in Canada was scarce, but this has improved in recent
years, and their reproductive health concerns are now receiving more
Dr. Deborah Money, also a principal author of the guideline, expressed
the following: "With proper planning, it is possible for HIV-positive
Canadians to have a healthy baby. While there are a number of special
considerations unique to an prospective mother with HIV, there are a
number of preconception, contraception and fertility recommendations
that remain the same as they would be for any other woman."
While the SOGC is pleased to have published this guideline focused
specifically on pregnancy planning for HIV-positive Canadians, it is
important to note that the Society is now devoting efforts to the
completion of a clinical practice guideline focused on the management
of HIV in pregnancy.
SOURCE Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
For further information:
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Communications and Public Education
Tel: (613) 730-4192 or Toll-free: 1-800-561-2416, ext. 366
Cell: (613) 240-0169
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.sogc.org
The guideline is available on the SOGC home page in the Clinical Practice Guidelines section.