According to a new American study, the risk of the probability of HIV transmission can increase fourfold for pregnant women. This would also be true right after pregnancy, according to the researchers.
Pregnant women are more likely to be exposed to the AIDS virus, a finding from a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of Washington, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Women in the postpartum period, that is, from the end of delivery to the first period after pregnancy, would also be more exposed.
In order to reach this conclusion, the researchers compared the probabilities of HIV transmission through sexual intercourse in heterosexual couples – without a condom – with regard to pregnant women, non-pregnant women, and women from all over the world.
The results of the study concern a 25-year-old woman having sex with a partner with a viral load of 10,000 copies / ml. If this woman is not pregnant, the odds of contracting HIV are 1.05 out of 1,000 sexual acts. This same probability increases to 2.19 per 1,000 during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, and even up to 4.18 per 1,000 during the first six months postpartum!
“Pregnant women may face increased challenges when negotiating condom use with their partners. In some cultures, male partners of pregnant and postpartum women have more sex outside the relationship, which increases the risk of contracting HIV and other STIs. Domestic violence and power imbalances in the relationship can also increase the risk of HIV transmission,” says the study.
Researchers estimate that physiological changes related to pregnancy are implicated in this prevalence, but indicate that they need more time to provide more details.