If you are HIV-positive, then yes, your baby should be tested for HIV. However, the test used for babies of HIV-positive mothers is
a little different from other HIV tests.
Most HIV tests look for antibodies to HIV, not the virus itself. But these tests aren’t very useful for babies born to HIV-positive
mothers. That’s because the mother’s HIV antibodies get into the baby’s blood during pregnancy. If the mother is HIV-positive,
the regular HIV test will show that the baby is HIV-positive, even when that isn’t true.
Healthcare providers can use special HIV tests on children who are younger than 18 months old. These tests can detect very small quantities
of the virus itself in the children’s blood. At a minimum, babies born to HIV-positive mothers should be tested at three different
- At 14 to 21 days after birth
- At 1 to 2 months of age
- At 3 to 6 months of age
In almost all cases (95%), the special test can tell whether a baby has HIV by the time he or she is 3 months old.
Even if the tests show that your baby does not have HIV, if you take antiretroviral drugs during your pregnancy, your baby should receive
long-term follow-up care by a healthcare provider.