Achieving safe conception in HIV-discordant couples: the potential role of oral preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the United States
ABSTRACT Approximately half of HIV-discordant heterosexual couples in the United States want children. Oral antiretroviral preexposure prophylaxis, if effective in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission, might be an option for discordant couples wanting to conceive. Couples should receive services to ensure they enter pregnancy in optimal health and receive education about all conception methods that reduce the risk of HIV transmission. In considering whether preexposure prophylaxis is indicated, the question is whether it contributes to lowering risk in couples who have decided to conceive despite known risks. If preexposure prophylaxis is used, precautions similar to those in the current heterosexual preexposure prophylaxis trials would be recommended, and the unknown risks of preexposure prophylaxis used during conception and early fetal development should be considered. Anecdotal reports suggest that oral preexposure prophylaxis use is already occurring. It is time to have open discussions of when and how preexposure prophylaxis might be indicated for HIV-discordant couples attempting conception.
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ABSTRACT: Introduction: Increased life expectancy of HIV-positive individuals during recent years has drawn attention to their quality of life, which includes fulfilment of fertility desires. In particular, heterosexual HIV serodiscordant couples constitute a special group for whom the balance between desired pregnancy and the risk of viral transmission should be carefully considered and optimized. Although advanced assisted reproductive technologies are available, such treatments are expensive and are often unavailable. Moreover, standard viral load testing and antiretroviral therapy may not be accessible due to structural or individual barriers. To reduce the risk of HIV transmission, a lower cost alternative is timed condomless sex combined with other risk-reduction strategies. However, timed condomless sex requires specific knowledge of how to accurately predict the fertile window in a menstrual cycle. The aim of this study was to summarize inexpensive fertility awareness methods (FAMs) that predict the fertile window and may be useful for counselling HIV-positive couples on lower cost options to conceive. Methods: Original English-language research articles were identified by a detailed Medline and Embase search in July 2014. Relevant citations in the included articles were also retrieved. Results and discussion: Calendar method, basal body temperature and cervicovaginal mucus secretions are the most accessible and sensitive FAMs, although poor specificity precludes their independent use in ovulation detection. In contrast, urinary luteinizing hormone testing is highly specific but less sensitive, and more expensive. To maximize the chance of conception per cycle, the likelihood of natural conception needs to be assessed with a basic fertility evaluation of both partners and a combination of FAMs should be offered. Adherence to other risk-reduction strategies should also be advised, and timely referral to reproductive medicine specialists is necessary when sub/infertility is suspected. Conclusions: FAMs provide effective, economical and accessible options for HIV serodiscordant couples to conceive while minimizing unnecessary viral exposure. It is important for health care providers to initiate conversations about fertility desires in HIV-positive couples and to educate identified couples on safer conception strategies.Journal of the International AIDS Society 01/2015; 18(1):19447. DOI:10.7448/IAS.18.1.19447 · 4.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is limited understanding of health care providers' attitudes towards HIV-infected individuals' reproductive choices, as well as knowledge about safer conception. Our study objective was to explore provider-level factors that serve as barriers and/or facilitators to the provision of reproductive and safer conception services for men and women living with HIV. Twenty-five providers were interviewed in four focus group discussions about their attitudes regarding childbearing by HIV-infected clients, reproductive health and HIV knowledge, and views and knowledge of safer conception. Providers reported ambivalence about supporting childbearing among their clients with HIV. They raised concerns about HIV-infected individuals having children, and in certain cases expressed judgment that people with HIV should not have children because of these concerns. Providers lack specific knowledge about safer conception strategies and have low level of knowledge of reproductive health, the efficacy of PMTCT, and the risks of pregnancy for HIV-infected women. Providers in our setting have complex attitudes about HIV-infected clients having children and lack knowledge to appropriately counsel clients about reproductive health and safer conception. Our findings highlight need for further research in this area as well as the need for provider training in reproductive health and safer conception.
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ABSTRACT: We examine progress towards the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) commitment to provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services by 2014, with an emphasis on changes for those living in poor and emerging economies. Accomplishments include a 45% decline in the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) between 1990 and 2013; 11.5% decline in global unmet need for modern contraception; ~21% increase in skilled birth attendance; and declines in both the case fatality rate and rate of abortion. Yet aggregate gains mask stark inequalities, with low coverage of services for the poorest women. Demographic and Health Surveys and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys from 80 developing countries highlight persistent disparities in skilled birth attendance by household wealth: in 70 of 80 countries (88%), ≥80% of women in the highest quintile were attended by a skilled provider at last birth; in only 23 of the same countries (29%) was this the case for women in the lowest wealth quintile. While there have been notable declines in HIV incidence and prevalence, women affected by HIV are too often bereft of other SRH services, including family planning. Achieving universal access to SRH will require substantially greater investment in comprehensive and integrated services that reach the poor.Global Public Health 01/2015; DOI:10.1080/17441692.2014.986178 · 0.92 Impact Factor