Communications in the clinic
Q.44 What are the essential health messages that should be communicated to HIV-infected pregnant women attending antenatal clinics or to mothers at MCH services?
The essential messages that should be communicated to HIV-infected pregnant women include:
- the infant feeding method that is recommended for HIV-exposed infants, and the type of support available. Where this method is breastfeeding with ARVs, the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding after 6 months while adding nutritious and safe complementary foods should be emphasized;
- the ARV regimens that will be provided, including information about the names of the ARVs, whether they should be given to the mother or the infant, when to come back to clinics for further supplies and what to do if they have questions or think the infant has any side effect related to the ARVs;
- what to do when the infant reaches 12 months of age and introducing other foods;
- the importance of adhering to the feeding method, and if breastfeeding, the dangers of mixed feeding in the first 6 months;
- the importance of being assessed for treatment or prophylaxis as soon as possible after an HIV-positive diagnosis to protect the mother’s health and help her baby to both survive and be HIV-free;
- the importance of adhering to treatment or prophylaxis in order to prevent the HIV-exposed infant from becoming infected;
- the type of support available, and how often the women should return to the clinic.