How can you get pregnant safely if both partners are living with HIV?
Couples who are both living with HIV will still need to think about how they can get pregnant safely.
It's possible to become reinfected with HIV, if you and your partner have different strains of HIV, or if one or both of you have become resistant to different treatments. In these cases sex without a condom could lead to you passing on resistance or becoming infected with multiple types of HIV, both of which could make treating your HIV more difficult and have an impact on your health.
The best way to avoid reinfection is to make sure that both you and your partner are adhering well to your antiretroviral treatment before trying to get pregnant. If your viral load is suppressed your risk of reinfection is very low. If possible speak to a healthcare worker and have your viral load measured before trying for a baby. It's also a good idea to check for and treat any other STIs before you stop using condoms.
How can I tell if I am ovulating?
Ovulation is when an egg is released from your ovaries. It's during this time that you are most likely to get pregnant.
The best way to work out when you are ovulating is to track your periods. You're most likely to get pregnant around 10 - 16 days before your period starts. If you have a regular cycle, knowing when your period is likely to come will help you understand when you are most likely to be ovulating.
You may also notice changes to your cervical mucous throughout the month. Cervical mucous is the fluid that the cervix releases into the vagina. The amount and texture of this mucous changes with the menstrual cycle. At the time of ovulation you might notice an increase in mucous, and that it becomes more clear, wet and even stretchy. The body creates this fluid to help the sperm reach the egg at the time of ovulation. At other points in the month, when you are less fertile, you are likely to have less cervical mucous, and it's more likely to be cloudy or sticky like glue.
Watching for changes in your menstrual cycle is the best way to understand periods of fertility, but it can vary a lot between women, especially if your cycle is less regular.
How long does it normally take to get pregnant?
The amount of time it takes to get pregnant will vary from couple to couple, but most couples trying to have a baby will get pregnant within one year. If it's been longer than one or two years you might consider speaking to a healthcare worker.
Some factors that can impact how long it takes to get pregnant include: your age; general health; and how often you have sex.