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Aurora magazine

How do HIV and AIDS affect fertility?

According to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV and AIDS have negative repercussions on male and female fertility. The factor is added to the risk of transmission from mother to fetus, which is between 15% and 45%. With a specific treatment during pregnancy and lactation, however, the risk falls below 5%.

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has given birth to many HIV positive children. Before this, in fact, conception involved a high risk of transmission of the disease both to the partner and to the child. Complications during pregnancy were also frequent, even if not strictly related to the virus. Today these problems can be avoided, but HIV positive women may have fertility problems.

It is common for the infection to be linked to an abnormal cycle, if not for the complete absence of menstruation. Furthermore, HIV positive women suffer from a series of side problems that lower their chances of conceiving. Many of these have problems related to stress or depression, a weaker immune system.

HIV also affects the quality of the sperm. Anyone who is positive for the virus may have testicular inflammation and insufficient testosterone levels. Stress and depression can also cause problems related to the sexual sphere, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased libido.

To address any fertility problems, both psychological and medical consultations are useful. Assisted fertilization can help deal with the most physical difficulties related to HIV. Both in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination have given excellent results in this regard. A psychological consultation, however, is a support for those who have difficulty living with the virus.