Kelly Hill, mom of 4-year-old Avram, tells POZ editor in chief Regan Hofmann what it’s like to be pregnant and give birth when you have HIV
Regan: So how did you get pregnant?
Kelly: My pregnancy wasn’t planned. I got HIV from my son’s father, and we stayed together for a while after my diagnosis. We weren’t using protection since my doctor wasn’t worried about superinfection.
What made you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy?
I wasn’t really sure about HIV and pregnancy, so I talked to all these doctors, and I read everything I could read. With the meds, the chances of him getting it were only, like, one to two percent. The more I knew, the less scary it was.
You weren't on meds at the time, right?
I wasn’t. To get my viral load to undetectable, they put me on Combivir and Viramune after my first trimester, which is a common regimen for people who are pregnant. I got a horrible rash—but pretty much everything gives me a rash—and I also got really bad neuropathy in my feet. That was hard. My CD4 cells dropped a lot when I was pregnant. By the time my son was one, my CD4s were 129. But I think that’s for numerous reasons. Now, I’m on Sustiva and Truvada, and my viral load is undetectable.
What was it like after you gave birth?
I had to give my son AZT for six weeks, which was the worst part of it all. I felt really guilty giving him such a toxic medication. But he had no problem taking it. He’s negative and gonna be 5 in September!
So how is it being a mom?
It’s been really, really good. It was a struggle at first because I didn’t have a lot of experience with children before I had my son. But he’s really, really sweet. Being a mom is good.