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Side effects of ARV in expectant women 

Expectant women who are HIV/AIDS positive are at a high risk of contracting ailments resulting from side effects of the Antiretroviral  therapy drugs.

In an interview with KNA  Peter Njoroge a HIV/AIDS counsellor at the Kiambu Level 5 hospital said that the side effects of the Antiretroviral Therapy in the pregnant women varied from one person to the other and it was important for one to be observant so as to take precautionary measures to ease the discomfort and enable them to carry the pregnancy to maturity.

He said that some conditions may be mild while for others they may experience permanent conditions that they may have to bear with. “ One way to go about this is by asking your doctor what are some of the side affects you will experience so that you can know what to prepare for and how to cope with it.

He cautioned that some of the short term side effects were common to those who are starting their medication or even changing it and they would get better after the body adjusted to the new drugs.

Some of the conditions he said include fatigue which can be addressed by one getting some 30 minutes nap whenever one felt tired. One could cut down on their work schedule and also by having a balanced diet to help give the body adequate fuel to keep fatigue at bay.

Engaging in some light exercises can also help in boosting their energy and they should not skip them as it was necessary for their condition.

Mr. Njoroge also said that others get to experience diarrhea that should be addressed by getting plenty of fluids so that it can help curb dehydration which is not good for a person especially in the family way.

While experiencing headache he said they should limit staying in a place that is too noisy and with bright light which irritates them.

Rashes is another common challenge and one should avoid long hot showers and skin products containing harsh chemicals as they are unfriendly to the skin. They should also moisture their skin with petroleum jelly or lotions frequently during daytime and if possible, he said they should be part and parcel of the items they carry in their handbags.

He however warned of some long term side effect which seriously affected a number of them as weight loss which he recommended that those with the challenge should eat foods with high protein and low sugar level

Having regular exercise to help control the blood sugar is important and he advised that those in this category should engage in exercise without failing.

Other women may experience a buildup in cellular waste products and this can cause a wide range of problems like liver failure that may require them to change their type of medication. He concluded that it is prudent for women in the family way to frequently consult their doctors so that anything that is causing concern can be addressed immediately it is detected before the condition got out hand.

By Lydia Shiroya and Jane Mumbi

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