What is HIV/AIDS? Explained by Our Portland Birth Injury Attorney
At the end of 2018, 1.2 million Americans had HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). Also, in 2018, approximately 69 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States were comprised of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with other men. In contrast, 24 percent of all HIV diagnoses were made up of heterosexuals. Additionally, in 2018, 42 percent of all new HIV diagnoses were adult and adolescent blacks/African Americans. Likewise, 27 percent of all new HIV diagnoses were Hispanics/Latinos. This tragic disparity that has always been at issue unfortunately persists today. If you are in an unfair position such as these, or any other, and pregnant with HIV/AIDS, our Portland birth injury attorney is readily available to speak with you.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, while AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. If HIV progresses through certain stages, a person will become infected with AIDS.
HIV/AIDS is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, that can be spread through bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, or vaginal fluids, through broken skin or mucous membranes. HIV damages T-cells, which are used to protect your immune system and fight off infections, diseases, and other health problems.
Once a person has acquired HIV, which, as discussed above, can later can progress to AIDS, it cannot be undone. Once a person has acquired HIV, it can only be managed with medications that aim to protect the immune system and keep it functioning as well as possible.
AIDS is the final stage of HIV, and the most severe. It is diagnosed when the T-cells drop below a certain amount, causing the inability to fight off diseases and becoming more vulnerable to infections. Although it can take more than 10 years to progress into AIDS, once a person has AIDS, they have about three years to live.
Signs and Symptoms of HIV/AIDS
Most people have symptoms within two to four weeks after exposure and infection. These signs and symptoms are often generally flu-like. More specifically, other signs and symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
Most people will have a mixture of these symptoms for several days or weeks. It should be noted that some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all once infected. The best way of determining your status is to get tested as soon as possible. The Oregon Health Authority provides many details and directions about obtaining help if you think you have, or know you have, HIV/AIDS.
Pregnant with HIV/AIDS: Precautions to Take
Some women are not sure if they can get pregnant while infected with HIV/AIDS. Although it is often not advisable, if a woman continues on with getting pregnant, the risks can be managed successfully. Pregnancy for one with AIDS is strongly not recommended. A pregnancy while infected with HIV/AIDS is considered a high-risk pregnancy—one that puts much more stress on the mother and baby. It requires much closer monitoring by the doctor and his or her medical staff, as more can go awry. This is why it is important to have a Portland birth injury attorney.
Namely, during pregnancy, the infection can pass through the placenta and infect the fetus. As well, during labor and delivery, the baby may be exposed to the HIV through the mother’s blood and fluids. Specifically, once a mother’s water breaks, the risk of transmission increases greatly. Finally, breastfeeding can also be a time when transmission of the mother’s HIV occurs.
Risks You Should Be Aware of if Pregnant with HIV/AIDS: Explained by Our Portland Birth Injury Attorney
The primary complication of having a baby while having HIV is that, if transmitted to the baby, the baby will have HIV and AIDS, and for life. Alternatively, it could also mean that their child will be constantly sick, as their immune system will be down, and could die prematurely. With transmission, the child will also need life-long treatment care, that can cause strife, loss of finances, and life-long hurdles. Other risks include:
- C-sections are known to increase the risks of transmission too. Talk to your doctor before committing to this.
- If you are not taking medications for HIV, they should be administered during delivery
- Amniotomies should not be performed—this is when it is induced for the water to break—can increase bleeding/increase chances of transmission
- Episiotomies should not be performed—incisions made to widen the canal to permit delivery
- And out injuries that our Portland birth injury attorney should review for you.
What Can Be Done to Mitigate the Risks
A mother, if properly informed by her doctor, can take the appropriate steps to be as healthy as possible before and during pregnancy, to ensure the success of her delivery and baby’s life.
Primarily, if a mother religiously continues her HIV medication, the risk of transmission can almost be as low as 1 percent in some cases. Keeping Vitamin A levels is important, as is preventing malnutrition. Constant and open communication with doctors and those associated with your medical care is vital as well. In terms of things a mother should not do, the following are cited:
- Do not smoke
- Do not abuse an substances
- Do obtain any other infections, such as other STDs
- Do not breastfeed
Doctors also play a major part of mitigating the risks. For example, medications should be administered to a baby born to an HIV infected mother for at least six weeks after birth. Furthermore, this should happen within 8-12 hours of the birth. Contact our Portland Attorney if you are unsure of whether your medical care properly prevented transmission of your HIV/AIDS to your baby.
Our Portland Birth Injury Attorney Can Help You
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.