Rubella and HIV

Rubella, HIV and other infectious diseases, such as syphilis or hepatitis B, can be transferred from the mother to the baby during pregnancy or at delivery. All pregnant women are offered, and recommended, a routine screening test for these infections early in pregnancy.


Rubella (German measles) can seriously harm your baby if you catch it during the first four months of pregnancy. Most children are immunised against rubella but if you think you are pregnant and have rubella, or have been in contact with someone who has German measles, tell your doctor at once.


If you know you are HIV positive, you can take action to minimise the risk of passing HIV to your baby.

This includes:

  • taking anti-retroviral drugs after the first three to four months of pregnancy
  • taking anti-retroviral drugs during labour and delivery
  • in some cases having a caesarean section
  • giving the baby a short course of anti-retroviral medicine after birth
  • not breast feeding

With all interventions, the risk of a mother infecting her baby can be reduced to less than two per cent. With no actions, the risk can be between 25 to 40 per cent.

All pregnant women in Northern Ireland are offered and recommended a screening test for HIV in pregnancy.

If you think you have HIV

If you think you may have HIV, the best step is to get tested.

HIV tests are available free of charge on a confidential basis from genitourinary medicine (GUM) or sexual health clinics.

There are many organisations offering advice and help in this situation. Support ranges from offering education, training and volunteering opportunities to people living with HIV, to advice, support and information on employment and personal development.

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