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 pregnant person newly diagnosed with HIV meet with an HIV specialist (infectious disease physician) to review their HIV disease. They will draw blood to determine their 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 people 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 they are 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 practices, and dealing with learning about the diagnosis during pregnancy.

Almost half of all pregnant people living with HIV learn about their HIV status through routine, voluntary prenatal testing. The pregnant patient is concerned not only for them self, but also for the well-being of their child. It is important to reassure them that there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission to their baby to less than 1%. Many people 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 they 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 their HIV specialist and obstetrician and taking their medications on time everyday.

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

The Mother and Child Alliance (formerly Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative - PACPI) offers enhanced perinatal HIV case management services to pregnant people living with HIV in Illinois who require extra support. An enhanced case manager can work with you to link your client to a variety of services. Mother and Child Alliance (MACA) 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 people, 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 people living with HIV who are pregnant, recently delivered, or people with a preliminary positive rapid HIV test at labor and delivery.

By calling the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline you can request linkage with perinatal 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.