Chapter 7: Learning a pregnant woman’s health history
HIV cannot live on its own in the air or water.
So HIV cannot spread in these ways:
• touching, hugging, or kissing
• sharing food or dishes
• sharing a bed or clothing
• sharing latrines
• insect bites
Touching does not spread HIV.
Midwives can help stop HIV
HIV is a growing problem everywhere. As a midwife, you can work to stop the
spread of HIV. Encourage all pregnant women and their partners to be tested for
HIV. Help women who have HIV plan carefully for pregnancy, and prevent
pregnancies they do not want (see Chapter 17). Midwives can also work to
prevent new HIV infections in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. New
HIV infections during pregnancy are more likely to spread HIV to the baby too.
An important way to do this is to teach men and women about using condoms.
Remember though, even when people know how condoms protect them from
HIV, they may need support to use this knowledge. For example,
• Some people, especially young people and women, do not have much choice
about how they have sex. If they do not want sex, or they want to use
condoms, their partners may not listen.
• Some people do not want to use condoms. They may wish to become
pregnant. They may not like how condoms feel. They may want sex to feel
free and unplanned, or feel that using condoms is a sign of distrust. Some
people cannot afford to buy condoms, or cannot find them easily.
• Some people just feel hopeless. If many people around them are sick or dying
from AIDS, they may feel there is no way to prevent it, and they do not try.
These challenges are not easily solved. But the health and future of all of us
depends on stopping HIV, so it is important to try. Find ways to talk to people
and to encourage them to talk to each other about why people have difficulty
protecting themselves from HIV.
How can I ask
to use a
A Book for Midwives (2010)
would use them
but we cannot