Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 27

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the following questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 27.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 27.1, 27.2, 27.3 and 27.5)

Can a pregnant woman transmit HIV to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding? What should you recommend to her?


An HIV-infected pregnant woman can pass the virus on to her unborn baby, either before or during birth, so she should give birth in a health facility. HIV can also be passed on during breastfeeding. Exclusive breastfeeding is therefore not recommended but will be necessary if the AFASS criteria cannot be met. If a woman knows that she is infected with HIV, there are drugs she can take to greatly reduce the chances of her child becoming infected.

SAQ 27.2 (tests Learning Outcome 27.3)

Can women with HIV have normal healthy babies? What are the most important ways of reducing the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV?


Women who are infected with HIV are able to have normal and healthy pregnancies if they use ANC services and PMTCT to improve the chances of having an HIV-negative baby.

  • It is important that HIV-infected pregnant women attend antenatal care to decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to their infants during pregnancy.
  • Because of the risk of HIV transmission from mother to baby during labour and delivery, HIV-infected mothers should plan to deliver their baby in a healthcare facility, where there are safer delivery practices.
  • It is also critical that the baby and mother continue to receive ongoing care in the post-delivery period to reduce the likelihood of transmission through breastfeeding, and to monitor the infant’s health, growth and development.

SAQ 27.3 (tests Learning Outcome 27.3)

Why should a pregnant mother be tested for HIV? Explain the advantages of HIV testing and counselling for PMTCT.


There are a number of reasons why a pregnant woman should be tested for HIV:

  • Knowing her HIV status can help her make informed decisions about her current and future pregnancies.
  • If she is infected, knowing her status can help her to access other HIV care and treatment services.
  • If she is infected, she can learn how to prevent HIV transmission to her baby.
  • If she is infected, she can learn how to reduce the risk of infecting other people.
  • If she is not infected, it will help her to stay uninfected, and keep her family safe from HIV infection.
  • Whether she is infected or not, testing can help to plan for the future.

SAQ 27.4 (tests Learning Outcome 27.4)

Which of the following statements is false? In each case, explain what is incorrect.

A  Less than 10 out of 100 children will be infected by HIV if drugs for PMTCT are taken by the mother.

B  All pregnant women who are HIV-positive and in WHO clinical stage 3 or 4 need antiretroviral therapy (ART).

C  A pregnant woman who is taking ARV drugs to treat her own HIV infection also has to take additional ARV drugs for PMTCT.

D  PMTCT with single-dose Nevirapine means giving one dose of this drug to the newborn baby.


A and B are true.

C is false. A pregnant woman who is taking ARV drugs to treat her own HIV infection does not need additional ARV drugs for PMTCT.

D is false. Single-dose Nevirapine for PMTCT is given to the mother at the onset of labour, as well as to the newborn baby.

Summary of Study Session 27