Treatment Concerns for Women

For the most part, HIV/AIDS treatments for women are the same as for men.

However, there are some special concerns related to treatment of HIV in women and pregnancy and pregnancy prevention:

  • Birth control. Some anti-HIV drugs interact with birth control pills. This may mean that a woman on HIV medication is more likely to become pregnant even if she's using contraception. HIV-infected women who want to avoid pregnancy should talk to their health care providers about the safest and most effective birth control method for them. Pregnant women are more likely to get infected if exposed to the virus, so use of condoms is important during pregnancy.
  • Birth abnormalities. One anti-HIV drug, called efavirenz or Sustiva, may rarely be associated with abnormalities of birth if a woman takes it during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Mother-to-child transmission. During pregnancy, birth, and nursing, HIV can pass from a mother to her child. Women can avoid this if they and their infants take anti-HIV drugs and avoid breastfeeding. Read more about preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health has more comprehensive information for women on HIV treatment.

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