How is it that a couple can have HIV negative children despite one or both of them being HIV positive?

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How is it that a couple can have HIV negative children despite one or both of them being HIV positive?

In: Biology

I’m a family medicine resident so somewhat qualified I guess to answer. The transmission rate from mom to infant is only something like 10% without hiv treatment, this is because most of the time the virus does not cross the placenta. Sometimes it does and there is a riks of transmission to baby during delivery. If a mom is treated with antiretroviral therapy and has very low viral levels the transmission rate can be close to 0.

HIV can generally only be passed to the baby from the mother, not the father. Mothers with HIV can pass the virus to the baby during pregnancy, but if they are on HIV medication it’s unlikely because it can lower the viral load in the bloodstream to near-undetectable levels. There’s a risk of passing it during childbirth or breastfeeding, so women with HIV shouldn’t breastfeed and can give birth via C-section to prevent transmission.

There’s a public relations campaign to let people know that [Undetectable = Untransmittable](https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/art/index.html)

Baby and mother have different circulatory systems. The baby’s blood exchanges nutrients with the Mother’s at the placenta.

Their blood does not mix directly, or else children with different blood types from their mother would just die from blood clots.

The placenta is amazing!!! The reason a fetus does not get HIV is the same reason they fetus can have a different blood type than the mother. HIV typically will not pass the placenta barrier.