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She's pregnant, HIV positive and isn't fussed if her child is born with the virus.

An HIV positive woman has caused controversy by saying it “wouldn’t be the end of the world” if she passed on the virus to her unborn child. She has been lambasted from all corners of the internet and labelled a poor mother before she’s even given birth.

This is her side of the story.

For Amanda Mammadova, being HIV positive has become a way of life. So much so that she believes if her child were to have it too, they would learn to live with it.

The 34-year-old is currently doing what most of us would consider ‘playing with fire’. She has had repeated unprotected sex with her husband in the hopes of getting pregnant– despite knowing doing so could result in the virus being passed on to her partner and unborn baby.

“It wouldn’t be the end of the world”. 

The risks are small, but they are most certainly there. There’s a one in a hundred chance her baby will have HIV, even though Amanda takes her antiretroviral medication religiously.

For most people, that’s a risk too big to take on. Medical professionals generally advise women with HIV should undergo IVF to conceive rather than engage in any unprotected sex at all.

But for Amanda and her partner “there are risks with all pregnancies,” and this is just another parenting obstacle they may face. The couple already have a child who is virus free, and are optimistic their second pregnancy will be much the same.

Speaking to The Daily MaiAmanda revealed she was diagnosed with the virus in 2010 after going to a routine sexual health check-up. Upon hearing the news she was in disbelief:  “I was in shock. I had a hundred questions in my head. Was I going to die? How long was I going to live? You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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Now that she has accepted her diagnosis her goal is to shift the stigma and release herself of the “death sentence” thrust upon her. Step one? To be the wife and mother she had always hoped to be.

“You always think ‘What if?’ But if every woman thought that, then we’d never have children,” Amanda says. “There is more chance of a mother suffering from an attack of pre-eclampsia so severe that it damages her baby than of me passing HIV to my baby”. 

The difference in this equation though is choice.

Many have condemned Amanda and her partner for voluntarily risking passing on the virus– however unlikely– onto a child, potentially inflicting them to a life of daily (and expensive) medical treatments.

But the couple believe the stigma surrounding HIV needs to shift, especially as those with the virus now have the same life expectancy as those without. Given that Amanda is aware of the condition and taking precautions to manage it she also believes she’s making a more informed decision than the thousands unaware they’re living with the virus every day.

On the bullying her children may face one day Amanda says, “I’ll tackle that head-on. I find it’s better to get it out in the open. If someone has a problem, you can go to them and talk to them. You have to deal with each situation as it occurs.”

“It’s about weighing up the risk.”

A risk it certainly is. But one this family seems better placed to manage than most.

We wish Amanda and her family all the best. More than anything, we hope her baby is given a clean bill of health.

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