Fertility Intentions and Reproductive Health Care Needs of People Living with HIV in Cape Town, South Africa: Implications for Integrating Reproductive Health and HIV Care Services

Women's Health Research Unit, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Anzio Road Observatory, 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.
AIDS and Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.49). 05/2009; 13 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):38-46. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-009-9550-1
Source: PubMed


Tailoring sexual and reproductive health services to meet the needs of people living with the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) is a growing concern but there are few insights into these issues where HIV is most prevalent. This cross-sectional study investigated the fertility intentions and associated health care needs of 459 women and men, not sampled as intimate partners of each other, living with HIV in Cape Town, South Africa. An almost equal proportion of women (55%) and men (43%) living with HIV, reported not intending to have children as were open to the possibility of having children (45 and 57%, respectively). Overall, greater intentions to have children were associated with being male, having fewer children, living in an informal settlement and use of antiretroviral therapy. There were important gender differences in the determinants of future childbearing intentions, with being on HAART strongly associated with women's fertility intentions. Gender differences were also apparent in participants' key reasons for wanting children. A minority of participants had discussed their reproductive intentions and related issues with HIV health care providers. There is an urgent need for intervention models to integrate HIV care with sexual and reproduction health counseling and services that account for the diverse reproductive needs of these populations.

Download full-text


Available from: Diane D Cooper
  • Source
    • "HIV-positive women who become pregnant and have wished to terminate their pregnancies have reported conditional access to safe abortion regardless of the legal status of abortion in that context. Some experienced greater access to abortion because of their HIV status, as was the case in South Africa, where abortion is legal on demand up through the 20 th week of pregnancy (Cooper et al. 2009, Orner et al. 2011). In Namibia, where abortion is highly restricted, HIV-positive women have been offered abortion only if they undergo sterilisation (ICW-Namibia 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fertility decisions among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are complicated by disease progression, the health of their existing children and possible antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, among other factors. Using a sample of HIV-positive women (n = 353) and men (n = 299) from Nigeria and Zambia and their healthcare providers (n = 179), we examined attitudes towards childbearing and abortion by HIV-positive women. To measure childbearing and abortion attitudes, we used individual indicators and a composite measure (an index). Support for an HIV-positive woman to have a child was greatest if she was nulliparous or if her desire to have a child was not conditioned on parity and lowest if she already had an HIV-positive child. Such support was found to be lower among HIV-positive women than among HIV-positive men, both of which were lower than reported support from their healthcare providers. There was wider variation in support for abortion depending on the measure than there was for support for childbearing. Half of all respondents indicated no or low support for abortion on the index measure while between 2 and 4 in 10 respondents were supportive of HIV-positive women being able to terminate a pregnancy. The overall low levels of support for abortion indicate that most respondents did not see HIV as a medical condition which justifies abortion. Respondents in Nigeria and those who live in urban areas were more likely to support HIV-positive women's childbearing. About a fifth of HIV-positive respondents reported being counselled to end childbearing after their diagnosis. In summary, respondents from both Nigeria and Zambia demonstrate tempered support of (continued) childbearing among HIV-positive women while anti-abortion attitudes remain strong. Access to ART did not impart a strong effect on these attitudes. Therefore, pronatalist attitudes remain in place in the face of HIV infection.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · African Journal of AIDS Research
  • Source
    • "Numerous studies in Africa and elsewhere have shown that many HIV-positive women and men desire children [6, 9–11]. This desire is influenced by a number of factors, including a partner’s HIV status and fertility desire [12], feeling clinically well [10], having adequate socio-economic support [10], cultural beliefs [6] and being on ART [9, 13, 14]. Studies have shown that ART use is associated with higher pregnancy rates among HIV-positive women [9]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Within the health system, limited attention is given to supporting the fertility and parenting desires on HIV-positive people. In this study, we explore health care providers’ knowledge and perspectives on safer conception and alternate parenting strategies for HIV-positive people. Methods Between November 2007 and January 2008, in-depth interviews were conducted with 28 health care workers involved in providing HIV and/or antiretroviral services at public sector clinics in Cape Town, South Africa. Views on sexual and reproductive health services, pregnancy, childbearing and parenting in HIV-positive men and women were explored using a semi-structured interview guide. Data were analyzed using a thematic approach. Results Providers recognized the sexual and reproductive rights of HIV-positive individuals, but struggled with the tension between supporting these rights and concerns about spreading infection. Limited knowledge of safer conception methods constrained their ability to counsel and support clients in realizing fertility desires. Providers believed that parenting alternatives that do not maintain biological and cultural linkage are unlikely to be acceptable options. Conclusions Health care provider training and support is critical to providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and meeting the fertility desires of HIV-positive people.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Health Services Research
  • Source
    • "Younger age was significantly positively associated with desire for more children among PLWHA in South Africa [5], Uganda [36] and Nigeria [8]. Gender has also been reported to influence fertility desires, with men being more likely than women to desire children in Uganda [38], Malawi [39] and South Africa [11]. However, one study in Nigeria [37] did not find any association between gender and fertility desires among PLWHA. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Fertility desires require new understanding in a context of expanding access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper studies the fertility desires and their rationales, of slum-dwelling Kenyan men and women living with HIV/AIDS who know their serostatus, but have different antiretroviral therapy treatment statuses. It addresses two research questions: How do people living with HIV/AIDS consider their future fertility? What factors contribute to an explanation of fertility desires among people living with HIV/AIDS. Methods: A mixed methods study (survey [n = 513] and in-depth interviews [n = 41]) with adults living with HIV/AIDS living in Nairobi slums was conducted in 2010. Regression analyses assess independent relationships between fertility desires and socio-demographic factors. Analyses of in-depth interviews are used to interpret the statistical analyses of fertility desires. Results: Our analyses show that fertility desires are complex and ambivalent, reflecting tensions between familial and societal pressures to have children versus pressures for HIV (re-)infection prevention. More than a third (34%) of men and women living with HIV expressed future fertility desires; however, this is significantly lower than in the general population. Factors independently associated with desiring a child among people living with HIV/AIDS were age, sex, number of surviving children, social support and household wealth of the respondent. Discussion: Increasing access to ART is changing the context of future childbearing for people living with HIV/AIDS. Prevailing values mean that, for many people living with HIV/AIDS, having children is seen as necessary for a ‘‘normal’’ and healthy adult life. However, the social rewards of childbearing conflict with moral imperatives of HIV prevention, presenting dilemmas about the ‘‘proper’’ reproductive behaviour of people living with HIV/AIDS. The health policy and service delivery implications of these findings are explored.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
Show more