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Infectious disease follow-up

We are the paediatric immunology and infectious diseases team at Sheffield Children’s hospital and will be following you and your new baby up, once they have been delivered at the Jessop wing at Sheffield Teaching Hospital (STH).

What happens now?

If you are not already taking some medicines for your infection, you may be asked to start taking some shortly. This will help in lowering the amount of HIV virus in your blood, to be ready for your baby being born, which can help lower the risk of transmission.

Your midwife and doctor will also discuss a birth plan with you. They may suggest that you to have a planned caesarean section, which may also help in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus to your baby.

The midwife will also discuss feeding options for your baby. It is best not to breast-feed your baby as this can be another way the virus can be passed on. You will be given advice on formula milks and given support with the costs if needed. Feeding options can be discussed with your doctor or midwife.

The doctors and nurses will let us know when you have delivered your baby. We may come over to see you on the ward, to support or answer any questions you may have.

Whilst you are still on the Jessop wing, the doctors will take a blood test from your baby soon after they have been born. This will check if the virus in their blood. You may hear this being called a ‘PCR’ and is a special sensitive test which looks for any sign of the virus in the blood.

Your baby will also be started on some medicines. This will need to be given 2 times a day, at the same time of day, for 2 weeks depending on your viral load. The midwives will help you with techniques for administration.

What will happen when we leave Jessop?

You will need to continue to give your baby their medicines every day, even if you think they do not like the taste. If you have any worries about side effects then you can contact us, or ask your midwife, to talk about them.

We that ask you to let us know if your GP is aware of your infection, so we know who we can and cannot talk to about your baby. However, we would strongly encourage you to tell your GP, so that you and your baby can receive the best possible all-round care.

We will not talk to your GP or Health Visitor without your permission.

What happens next?

We will inform you how long your baby needs to take their medicines for. If there are no complications, this is usually 2 weeks. We will call to remind you to do this. We will then send you an appointment to come to see us at the Children’s hospital around 6 weeks after your baby was born, so we can take a small blood test and look for the virus again, and to give them a general check-up.

At a visit 6 weeks later, around 3 months after your baby was born, we take 1 more blood test to check for the virus again.

If all the tests come back negative, we will not need to see you again until your baby is over 1 year old (around 20 months). Then we will ask you to return to clinic for one final blood test. This would be a test to look for any HIV antibody in your baby’s blood.

If at any time during this period you had any worries or wanted to see us, we would be happy to review you in our clinic.

Will the blood tests hurt my baby?

We will put some topical anaesthetic cream to numb the skin and provide some pain relief. This will be on either your baby’s hand or foot. This minimises the discomfort caused by the needle. You will need to hold your baby tight to stop them from struggling, whilst we do the test. The cream takes half an hour to work, but the blood test itself should not take long at all. On the first few occasions we will need want to take a very small amount of blood, which will not affect your baby.

What if my baby is infected with HIV?

In the unlikely event that your baby has become infected with the virus, then we will give you and your baby the best possible support and treatment we can offer.

We hold a special clinic every month for infected children, where we can monitor their health and how the infection is progressing.

When the time comes that we feel your baby needs to start on some medicines to treat the infection we will talk to you about this.

There are many medicines to treat the virus, which we would be able to discuss with you at the time, and support networks which you can be put in touch with.

It is important to remember that, with new modern treatment and good health care, children infected with HIV can go on to lead normal, healthy lives.

Contact us

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us.

The team members are:
Consultant Paediatric Immunologists – Dr Fiona Shackley, Dr Ben Shillitoe, Dr Carmen Gonzalez and Dr Caroline Kerrison.
Secretary telephone: 0114 226 7869

Paediatric Immunology Nurses – Lisa Ibberson, Belinda Lawson and Anna Mason.
Telephone: 0114 271 7223

We can be contacted on the above telephone numbers between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: IMM4

Resource Type: Article

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