Case managers can assist clients with referrals to prenatal and postpartum medical care, food and housing assistance, mental health and substance use treatment, and transportation or other social service needs including meeting with family and partners.

Pediatric infectious disease monitoring of the newborn is essential. This should be established prior to discharge from the hospital. If possible, discussions should be initiated during the third trimester to impress upon the parent the importance of adequate newborn care during the first few weeks of life. It is necessary that the baby’s HIV status be determined by administering a series of tests during the first 18-24 months of life so that appropriate medications can be initiated if necessary.

The case managers follow the client throughout the pregnancy and up to six months postpartum. The client may terminate the services at any time.

The US Department of Health and Human Services publishes the Recommendations for the Use of Antiretroviral Drugs During Pregnancy and Interventions to Reduce Perinatal HIV Transmission in the United States. These guidelines are reviewed and updated often. It is best to check for the most recent treatment guidelines at HIVinfo. Another way to ensure up-to-date treatment information is to call the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline at 1-800-439-4079 and consult with the physician on call.

The enhanced case manager is VERY SENSITIVE to the confidential nature of the HIV diagnosis and the preliminary positive HIV status. The case manager is not allowed, by law, to disclose this information to anyone without the client’s specific permission.

The laws vary from state to state, but in Illinois persons living with HIV engaging in “intimate contact” with another person must disclose their HIV status. It is important to prepare the patient to have that discussion with their partner(s) and also to encourage the partners to get tested. Some patients will prefer to disclose their status to their partners in the presence of a health care professional who can help answer questions.

We recommend that you seek out individual help or a support group (online or in person). HIV and pregnancy can be really isolating. There are professionals that can help you talk about your feelings, talk to your partner about your diagnosis, safe sex and dealing with learning about your diagnosis during pregnancy. Many people find out about their HIV status through prenatal testing. You are not alone.

Many pregnant people will want their partners to get tested right away. The local health department or Illinois’ 1-800-AID-AIDS hotline can provide you with confidential HIV testing sites in your area. The testing of siblings should be addressed within the care plan developed. Local children’s hospitals are sensitive to the issues around HIV testing for siblings. A referral for a local resource for testing can be obtained through the 24/7 Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, whether in a partner or a child, the better the chances for a long and healthy life.

Many pregnant people are eligible to see a case manager or social worker. They can help make sure that your basic needs (food, housing, transportation) are met in addition to helping to link you to support groups or other services that you may need.

Project Inform has a great website with lots of other fact sheets on pregnancy and HIV. HIVinfo also has excellent resources. Websites specifically for women include TheBody.com and thewellproject.org. Remember to visit our Helpful Links section too.