HIV stands for

HIV stands for
Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

And, basically, HIV is an illness
and it attacks your immune system.

So the main ways of catching HIV
are through unprotected sex

with somebody who has HIV.

Other ways
that the virus can be passed on

are from a woman to her child
during childbirth,

or things like
sharing injecting drug use equipment.

Over the years, I thought
I'd never be able to have a baby.

I couldn't even look at babies,
it was horrible.

And then as time went on,

it was a 15% chance
and then a 7% chance

that the baby would
contract it mother to baby.

And then it went down to 1%.

Many women assume
that if they're pregnant

and they find out they're HIV positive

that they'll pass on HIV
to their baby,

but that's not the case these days.

With good treatment
they can not pass on HIV to their baby.

As soon as we were married,
we started trying.

And, yeah, it took just over a year
to actually conceive,

I suppose because
it's slightly clinical or technical

in the way that it has to be done.

It may be a bit harder to conceive
but it's all worth it in the end.

There are three main ways
in which pregnant women

can avoid passing on HIV
to their babies.

The first is they can take
HIV treatment themselves.

The second is that in some cases they
may be offered a caesarean section

rather than a vaginal delivery,

which can help reduce the chance
of passing on HIV.

And then the third thing
is to avoid breast feeding.

It took me probably the first month
to accept that I couldn't breast feed

and for her to stop seeking as well,

so that was really hard,
really difficult.

I had to be on the right medication.

There's different combination therapy,
but you have to be on a specific one

that stops the virus
from crossing over the placenta,

so the baby doesn't contract it.

So you have to be
on the right medication to stop that.

And I also knew about
the delivery side of things.

They say that they do a caesarean

because there is less chance
of the baby getting the virus that way.

But with the viral load
being undetectable

there is a chance
of giving vaginal delivery as well.

So I just followed all the guidelines,

because all I wanted was my baby
to be born safely and well.

You'll be referred
to a specialist HIV doctor

who will help not only in terms
of your own health

and what you need
in terms of treatment and good health,

but will also help prevent
your baby getting HIV.

I had all the scans
in the middle of the normal ones

that you have to check
the baby was developing normally.

And everything was going well
because of the medication.

I just did what I could to be safe.

And when I gave birth naturally,

they immediately take the baby
and wash any blood that is there.

They immediately wash the baby, so you
don't get given your baby immediately.

They're washed straight away and they
also have to be put on HIV medication

as a preventative measure
for the first month.

Once you've given birth,
then your baby will be tested for HIV

and you should know within a few days
whether the baby has HIV or not.

And you'll be given
a series of follow-up tests

just to check that the baby
is doing well and is healthy.

The first one was definitely very
nerve-racking. Sorry, I get emotional.

I think we actually cracked open
a bottle of champagne and said,

"That's it. Cool. Brilliant."

Because it was really good
to find out that she didn't have it.

I would just want to reassure women,

no matter where they come from and
what type of strain of HIV they have,

we have very good medications
in the UK

and we can treat all pregnant women
who have HIV.

Have the tests done,
because if you are positive

and you can get on the medication
straight away,

it definitely decreases the risk

and hopefully prevents
mother-to-baby transmission.

But also I would say to anybody

who thinks maybe they can't ever
have a life and have a baby

and have a normal life,
the proof is in the pudding.

I'm here, I'm with my husband,
I've been positive for 17 years,

I met my husband five years ago,
I've got a lovely home,

a lovely husband and a lovely baby.

So it's just proof it can be done
and it can be done safely.