FAQs

The 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline (1-800-439-4079) can help you link your client with programs in your area. In Chicago, there are five specialty HIV/Obstetric programs that will handle both the HIV and obstetric aspects of pregnancy. In other metropolitan areas of the state there are similar programs.

It is imperative that a newly HIV positive pregnant woman meet with an HIV specialist (infectious disease physician) to review her HIV disease. They will draw blood to determine her CD4 (T cells) and viral load. These tests, along with other simple blood tests, will help to determine the recommended course of antiretroviral treatment.

Many women find out about their HIV status through prenatal testing. HIV and pregnancy can be very isolating therefore it is important to stress to the patient that she is not alone. Many people become overwhelmed and experience depression when they are first diagnosed. We recommend that you refer patients to a social worker or case manager who specializes in caring for people with HIV. There are many government-sponsored programs for people with HIV who have limited or no resources. An HIV case manager/social worker can help link the patient to an individual counselor or a support group (online or in person). There are trained professionals that can help patients talk about their feelings, talk to partners about the diagnosis, safe sex and dealing with learning about the diagnosis during pregnancy.

Almost half of all HIV positive pregnant women learn about their HIV status through routine, voluntary prenatal testing. The pregnant patient is concerned not only for herself, but also for the well-being of her child. It is important to reassure her that there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission to her baby to less than 1%. Many women feel an even greater loss of control over their bodies and health of the baby with a new HIV diagnosis. It is important to validate their concerns while assuring the patient that she can regain the greatest sense of control by doing everything possible to prevent transmission. While this can be a difficult adjustment, it can be achieved by attending all scheduled appointments with her HIV specialist and obstetrician and taking her medications on time everyday.

You can call the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline at 1-800-439-4079 to link a woman with medical care and social services (food, housing, transportation, support groups, benefits, respite care and referrals) in her area.

The Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI) offers enhanced perinatal HIV case management services to Illinois women requiring extra support. An enhanced case manager can work with you to link your client to a variety of services. PACPI case managers are available through the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline at 1-800-439-4079.

Enhanced case management is intensive case management. It is a field-based service where the case manager brings the services to the client. Enhanced case management is often targeted at especially vulnerable populations, like pregnant women, bringing the case management to their homes and their neighborhoods.

Traditional case management usually occurs in the case manager’s office, requiring the client to make and keep appointments. Enhanced case management occurs in the field. Case loads for enhanced case managers are small. They usually have one-quarter to one-half of the number of clients that a traditional case manager has. In enhanced case management, the visits are longer and clients usually require more hands on assistance in the field such as escort to appointments, linkage to specialized medical care, outreach and home visits.

Enhanced case management is provided to HIV positive pregnant women, recently delivered HIV positive women and women with a preliminary positive rapid HIV test on labor and delivery.

By calling the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline you can request linkage with enhanced case management. You will be faxed (or you can print from this site) a release of information form that the client must sign in order to be contacted by the case manager.

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