With Dr. Watiti
I got pregnant while taking ARVs and my doctor has now stopped me from taking them because he says Atripla, which I have been taking, is dangerous to my baby. I could not go back to my original drugs Triomune because I developed severe pains in my feet while on them. I have been told the only drugs I could use are second line drugs and they are not available at my centre.
What should I do now because I will have to be off ARVs for nine months while I am pregnant?
ATRIPLA, the drug you were on, cannot be used in pregnancy because it contains Efavirenz together with Tenofovir and Emtricitabine and Efavirenz is known to affect the developing foetus especially in the first three months of development.
You cannot go back to Triomune because of the side effects (peripheral neuropathy) you felt when you were on it most likely caused by Stavudine or Zerit, which together with Lamivudine or Epivir and Nevirapine form Triomune.
That leaves you with few options in the 1st line ARVs hence the need to use second line drugs like Kaletra or Alluvia plus Combivir.
The only other first line regimen you could use is Truvada and Nevirapine if they are available at your centre.
Truvada is a combination of Tenofovir and Emitracitabine.
If these are not available it may be wise for you to be referred to a bigger centre where they may be available.
This is important because being on ARVs while you are pregnant is one way of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV while the baby is still in the uterus.
The ARVs keep the viral load low thus reducing the risk of your passing on the virus to your baby.
Which ARVs are safe for me during pregnancy?