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Abstract

Objective(s): The childbearing needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the experiences of healthcare providers serving them are explored. We examine provider and client knowledge and views on safer conception methods. Methods: The study uses exploratory qualitative research to understand provider and client perspectives on childbearing and safer conception. Interviews were conducted at 3 sites (1 rural, 2 urban) in eThekwini District, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa between May 2011 and August 2012, including in-depth interviews with 43 PLHIV, 2 focus group discussions and 12 in-depth interviews with providers. Results: Clients had little knowledge and providers had limited knowledge of safer conception methods. While clients were eager to receive counseling on safer conception, providers had some hesitations but were eager to receive training in delivering safer conception services. Clients and providers noted that biological parentage is a major concern of PLHIV. Clients were willing to use any of the described methods to have biological children but some expressed concerns about potential risks associated with timed unprotected intercourse. Male clients required access to reproductive health information. Conclusions: Providers need to routinely initiate discussions with clients about childbearing intentions. Providers need to be enabled with approved guidelines and training to support client access to safer conception methods.

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... For providers, availability was limited by: lack of training in SCSs, SCS service delivery, and preconception counselling for people living with HIV; health workforce shortages that limited the quality of counselling; poor linkages to HIV care; and lack of integration of HIV and reproductive health services (leading providers to think that SCS is someone else's responsibility) [22,24,27,35,[47][48][49][50][51]. Studies showed that provider training and self-efficacy in talking about SCS increased SCS availability [35]. ...
... Studies showed that provider training and self-efficacy in talking about SCS increased SCS availability [35]. Many providers working with patients living with HIV desired additional training on SCS as they were concerned with HIV transmission and future children's health [22,50,52,53]; however, tailored guidelines and training may be required for providers to implement SCS [51,54,55]. ...
... Most of the studies reviewed included analysis of feasibility and acceptability of SCS for HIV-affected couples (32 of 41 studies, 78%). Overall, five studies found that HIV-affected couples who wanted to have children desired to learn more about SCS [27,50,[55][56][57]. Studies found that interventions that are currently offered to all HIV patients may be more feasible to be adapted for safer conception. ...
Article
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Comprehensive case management of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) includes partner notification. We reviewed the recent literature evaluating the acceptability and efficacy of partner notification strategies (i.e. direct patient referral, provider referral, or expedited partner treatment) for curable STIs in sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted a systematic search following PRISMA guidelines: published January 2008 to June 2017 in the English language, study in sub-Saharan Africa, and discussion of any curable STI with an outcome on partner notification. We searched six electronic databases, conference abstracts, online clinical trial registries, and article bibliographies. The results showed that out of the 74 identified articles, 55 did not meet inclusion criteria. Of the 11 studies evaluating direct patient referral, the proportion of index cases ( n = 4163) who successfully notified sex partner(s) was 53% (range 23-95%). Among those who notified ( n = 1727), 25% (range 0-77%) had partner(s) that sought evaluation (95% CI 0.51-0.54; 95% CI 0.23-0.27). Both provider referral and expedited partner treatment had higher proportions of partner(s) who sought treatment ( n = 208, 69% and n = 44, 84%, respectively). Direct patient referral is the most commonly used and evaluated partner notification strategy for STIs in sub-Saharan Africa with mixed success. We recommend future research to investigate other strategies such as expedited partner treatment.
... For providers, availability was limited by: lack of training in SCSs, SCS service delivery, and preconception counselling for people living with HIV; health workforce shortages that limited the quality of counselling; poor linkages to HIV care; and lack of integration of HIV and reproductive health services (leading providers to think that SCS is someone else's responsibility) [22,24,27,35,[47][48][49][50][51]. Studies showed that provider training and self-efficacy in talking about SCS increased SCS availability [35]. ...
... Studies showed that provider training and self-efficacy in talking about SCS increased SCS availability [35]. Many providers working with patients living with HIV desired additional training on SCS as they were concerned with HIV transmission and future children's health [22,50,52,53]; however, tailored guidelines and training may be required for providers to implement SCS [51,54,55]. ...
... Most of the studies reviewed included analysis of feasibility and acceptability of SCS for HIV-affected couples (32 of 41 studies, 78%). Overall, five studies found that HIV-affected couples who wanted to have children desired to learn more about SCS [27,50,[55][56][57]. Studies found that interventions that are currently offered to all HIV patients may be more feasible to be adapted for safer conception. ...
Article
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We conducted a systematic review of safer conception strategies (SCS) for HIV-affected couples in sub-Saharan Africa to inform evidence-based safer conception interventions. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched fifteen electronic databases using the following inclusion criteria: SCS research in HIV-affected couples; published after 2007; in sub-Saharan Africa; primary research; peer-reviewed; and addressed a primary topic of interest (SCS availability, feasibility, and acceptability, and/or education and promotion). Researchers independently reviewed each study for eligibility using a standardized tool. We categorize studies by their topic area. We identified 41 studies (26 qualitative and 15 quantitative) that met inclusion criteria. Reviewed SCSs included: antiretroviral therapy (ART), pre-exposure prophylaxis, timed unprotected intercourse, manual/self-insemination, sperm washing, and voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC). SCS were largely unavailable outside of research settings, except for general availability (i.e., not specifically for safer conception) of ART and VMMC. SCS acceptability was impacted by low client and provider knowledge about safer conception services, stigma around HIV-affected couples wanting children, and difficulty with HIV disclosure in HIV-affected couples. Couples expressed desire to learn more about SCS; however, provider training, patient education, SCS promotions, and integration of reproductive health and HIV services remain limited. Studies of provider training and couple-based education showed improvements in communication around fertility intentions and SCS knowledge. SCS are not yet widely available to HIV-affected African couples. Successful implementation of SCS requires that providers receive training on effective SCS and provide couple-based safer conception counseling to improve disclosure and communication around fertility intentions and reproductive health.
... The knowledge shown by our participants is consistent with that shown in other KwaZulu-Natal studies. 55,56 Haffejee et al., in their study of women in a low-income community, found that although women had general knowledge about HIV they lacked knowledge of specific prevention behaviour. 56 Mindry et al. found that ART clinic patients had insufficient knowledge on safe conception methods. ...
... 56 Mindry et al. found that ART clinic patients had insufficient knowledge on safe conception methods. 55 Ninety-three per cent of pregnancies in our study whose outcomes were known resulted in live births ( Table 2). We were unable to determine the outcomes of 18% of pregnancies in our cohort. ...
Article
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Background: Preconception antiretroviral therapy (PCART) followed by sustained viral suppression is effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The rates of persistent and transient viraemia in such patients have not been prospectively assessed in South Africa. Objectives: We determined the prevalence of transient and persistent viraemia in HIV-positive women entering antenatal care on PCART and studied variables associated with viraemia. Methods: We performed a prospective cross-sectional observational study of HIV-positive pregnant women presenting to a primary healthcare facility in KwaZulu-Natal. All had received at least 6 months of first-line PCART. Viral load (VL) was measured, patients were interviewed, adherence estimated using a visual analogue scale and adherence counselling provided. Viral load was repeated after 4 weeks where baseline VL exceeded 50 copies/mL. Results: We enrolled 82 participants. Of them, 59 (72%) pregnancies were unplanned. Fifteen participants (18.3%) were viraemic at presentation with VL > 50 copies/mL. Of these, seven (8.5%) had viral suppression (VL < 50 copies/mL), and eight remained viraemic at the second visit. Adherence correlated significantly with viraemia at baseline. Level of knowledge correlated with adherence but not with lack of viral suppression at baseline. Socio-economic indicators did not correlate with viraemia. No instances of vertical transmission were observed at birth. Conclusions: Approximately 20% of women receiving PCART may demonstrate viraemia. Half of these may be transient. Poor adherence is associated with viraemia, and efforts to encourage and monitor adherence are essential. The rate of unplanned pregnancies is high, and antiretroviral therapy programmes should focus on family planning needs of women in the reproductive age group to prevent viral non-suppression prior to pregnancy.
... According to UNAIDS, many women living with HIV (WLHIV) report no or limited knowledge of/access to fertility care services (UNAIDS Global Report, 2003) and HIV-infected men opine that providers think they only have sex with men and are not interested in having children (Mindry et al., 2013). With increased call for safer conception programs for PLHIV (Hancuch et al., 2018), health care providers particularly in countries with low resources are urged to become more informed about managing PLHIV's expectations to have families (Mindry et al., 2016). ...
Article
Increased life expectancy among persons living with HIV (PLHIV) has increased the desire for parenthood. It is therefore important that PLHIV and health care providers (HCPs) are aware of the available assisted reproduction services (ARS) for PLHIV facing infertility or unsuppressed viremia. Through secondary data analysis we identified PLHIV who were actively trying to conceive and their knowledge of ARS. As specialized fertility care for PLHIV is managed by Obstetrician/Gynecologists (Ob/Gyns), they were surveyed regarding their attitudes towards working with PLHIV and their awareness and knowledge of ARS with a self-administered questionnaire. In this cross-sectional study, 251 PLHIV and 102 Ob/Gyns were recruited and interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Although most Ob/Gyns (81%) reported being supportive of PLHIV having children, 85% counseled against pregnancy, particularly persons in HIV serodifferent relationships. Significantly more PLHIV under 40 years compared to those over 40 years had heard about ARS (59% vs. 43%, p = .007). Ob/Gyns were more knowledgeable of expensive ARS, while PLHIV’s knowledge was more restricted to cheaper more accessible ones. In conclusion Ob/Gyns knowledge gaps and underlying stereotypes may present barriers to PLHIV’s uptake of ARS. Additionally, virologically unsuppresed persons in HIV serodifferent relationships may be vulnerable as Ob/Gyns were less supportive of them.
... South African policies promote the SRH rights of PLHIV and promote provider-initiated discussions on reproductive goals for PLHIV [30,31]. Despite these policies and guidelines, there are implementation challenges related to providers having limited information about safer conception options as well as concerns about discussing safer conception with HIV affected couples [30][31][32][33]. Some providers have described ethical conflict in providing safer conception counselling, especially where poverty and intimate partner violence are concerns [12]. ...
Article
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Background There is a need for information and healthcare support for the fertility desires and contraceptive needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in order to provide safer conception support for sero-discordant couples wanting to safely conceive. A model to integrate sexual and reproductive health and HIV services was developed and implemented in a district hospital and six clinics in the eThekwini District, South Africa. Methods To evaluate the model’s success, a cross-sectional survey was conducted before and after implementation of the model. As part of this evaluation, fertility desires of PLHIV (both male and female), and providers’ perspectives thereof were explored. Changes in desires and attitudes after integration of services were investigated. Results Forty-six healthcare providers and 269 clients (48 male, 221 female) were surveyed at baseline, and 44 providers and 300 clients (70 male, 230 female) at endline. Various factors including relationship status, parity and antiretroviral treatment (ART) access influenced PLHIVs’ desires for children. Concerns for their own and their child’s health negatively impacted on PLHIV’s fertility desires. These concerns declined after integration of services. Similarly, providers’ concerns about PLHIV having children decreased after the implementation of the model. Conclusions Integrated services are important to facilitate provision of information on contraceptive options as well as safer conception information for PLHIV who want to have children.
... Our in-person program did not significantly increase contraception knowledge; these data are similar to those in studies conducted in other medicine subspecialties. One study regarding contraception use in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) population demonstrated that providers did not routinely discuss reproductive goals with patients with HIV and/or had limited or inaccurate knowledge (17). Limited knowledge and confidence may explain why conversations surrounding contraceptive options in patients with lupus are not occurring as frequently as they should be (5). ...
Article
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Objective To bring recent advances in pregnancy management in lupus to women nationwide, this multidimensional educational intervention sought to equip community rheumatologists with the needed skills, attitudes, and confidence to manage contraceptive decisions and pregnancy planning for women with lupus. Methods The program included an in‐person didactic, training in use of a comprehensive handout to guide contraception and pregnancy conversations, a simulated clinical experience, and access to an innovative website (www.lupuspregnancy.org). The program was analyzed using mixed methods, which included a quantitative survey by e‐mail before and after program completion and multiple qualitative interviews about attendees’ experiences integrating created resources into practice. Results The analysis included 68 preintervention surveys and 55 postintervention surveys. For qualitative analysis, eight interviews were completed until thematic saturation was achieved. After completion of the program, there was an increase in providers reporting a systematic approach to preparing a woman with lupus for pregnancy (from 45.6% to 94.6%; P < 0.0001). Confidence in choosing both appropriate contraception and pregnancy‐compatible medications improved significantly. As expected, change in knowledge about contraception was limited. Qualitative themes included the utility of the printable handouts, enthusiasm for the program, increased confidence and, importantly, increased empathy for the patients. Conclusion We created a valuable implementation tool that improves self‐reported provider skills and confidence in managing women with lupus who desire pregnancy. Providers now have access to a unique curriculum and resources that encourage providers to have open and accurate conversations about pregnancy, thus creating lasting clinical change.
... Encouragingly, we found perceived knowledge and self-efficacy around utilization of safer conception methods to be high among safer conception clients. Although baseline knowledge and self-efficacy were not measured, knowledge of methods was higher than that reported in other studies, including data collected earlier at this site prior to implementation of safer conception service delivery [13,29,30]. These findings suggest that engagement in a safer conception service may have had a positive impact on patient-level understanding of safer conception methods and utilization. ...
Article
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Background: Safer conception services promote the reproductive health and rights of families, while minimizing HIV transmission risks between partners trying to conceive, as well vertical transmission risks. Implementation data, including clients' experiences utilizing safer conception services in sub-Saharan Africa are limited. Methods: Hillbrow Community Health Centre began offering safer conception services for individuals and couples affected by HIV in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2015. A stratified sub-sample of safer conception clients were consecutively recruited from April 2016-August 2017 for a cross-sectional interview assessing clients' perceptions of service acceptability and value, as well as perceived safer conception knowledge and self-efficacy. Visual analog scales from 0 to 100 were used to measure clients' experiences; scores were classified as low, moderate and high acceptance/value/knowledge/self-efficacy if they were < 50, 50-79 and ≥ 80 respectively. Comparisons of scores were made across safer conception visits attended. Results: Among 692 clients utilizing safer conception services, 120 (17%) were sampled for the process evaluation; sub-sample participant characteristics were similar to the overall cohort. Clients gave a mean score of ≥90-points for each question assessing service acceptability and 96% (114/119) indicated a high perceived value (scores ≥80) for regular safer conception attendance until conception. Fifty-eight percent (n = 70) of clients reported learning something new during the visit completed the day of the survey, though acquisition of new information tended to decrease as visits increased (p = 0.09). In terms of safer conception strategies, 80% of clients reported high levels of knowledge on the impact of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and viral suppression on HIV transmission, 67% reported high levels of knowledge of the importance of STI screening and 56% regarding limiting condomless sex to days of peak fertility; 34% in sero-different relationships reported high pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) knowledge. Self-efficacy varied by safer conception methods and was similar across study visits. Conclusions: Clients perceived high value from their safer conception visits and preferred regular attendance until conception, however we observed a plateau in knowledge and self-efficacy across subsequent visits after initially attending safer conception care. More intensive services may be appropriate for certain clients based on clinical circumstances, but many couples may potentially receive a 'lighter touch' approach while still minimizing HIV transmission risks.
... With the expansion of PrEP availability, more effort is needed to work with healthcare providers and community members to shift the often negative perceptions held about HIV-affected couples who choose to have children and are therefore perceived to be exposing themselves or their partners to unnecessary HIV risk. 65,66 In this context, the availability of PrEP as a peri-conception prevention strategy may help to reduce stigma and support the normalisation of childbearing for these couples among providers and within communities. As with other populations at risk of HIV, another important consideration at the social level will be tackling misconceptions about PrEP that may hinder PrEP uptake or adherence during these seasons of increased risk. ...
Article
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a well-established biomedical HIV prevention strategy and recommended to reduce HIV risk during peri-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Efforts are needed to translate global recommendations into national guidelines and implementation strategies. This article presents the current status of policy guidance for the use of PrEP during peri-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, with a particular focus on high prevalence countries, including those in sub-Saharan Africa. PrEP clinical guidelines released by ministries of health or other national-level health bodies, with a particular focus on recommendations for PrEP use during peri-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding, were reviewed and summarised. Among countries with PrEP guidelines and/or policy, pregnancy is recognised as a period with increased HIV vulnerability, and some recommend PrEP use specifically during pregnancy. Only one country notes that PrEP is contraindicated during pregnancy, recognising a gap in complete safety data from women using PrEP throughout pregnancy. PrEP is not contraindicated as a peri-conception HIV prevention strategy in any country, but only three countries have specific guidance for peri-conception HIV prevention. Multiple barriers to the implementation of PrEP during pregnancy and breastfeeding are discussed, including barriers at the policy, health systems, social and personal levels. Although pregnancy is a period of heightened risk and fertility rates are high in many settings with high HIV burden, few PrEP policies have included guidance for PrEP use specific to peri-conception, pregnancy and breastfeeding periods. This gap can be overcome by the development or adoption of national clinical guidelines and implementation strategies from exemplary countries.
... Researchers and clinicians have drawn attention to the reproductive rights and needs of people living with HIV, 1-3 the challenges that providers and health care systems face in trying to address these needs, 4 and the viability of different methods of facilitating safer conception for serodiscordant couples. 5,6 A great deal of work has been done to help pregnant women living with HIV prevent mother-to-child transmission 7,8 and to engage men in such efforts. 9,10 However, few providers offer safer-conception services to reduce the risk of horizontal transmission between serodiscordant partners who wish to conceive. ...
Article
Context: Safer-conception counseling may help people living with HIV to reduce the risk of transmission to partners and children. However, such counseling is rarely offered or evaluated in low-income countries. Methods: In 2014-2015, in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted at a Ugandan HIV clinic with 42 HIV-positive clients and 16 uninfected partners who had participated in a safer-conception counseling intervention for serodiscordant couples seeking to have a child. Participants attended up to six monthly counseling sessions in which they received instruction and ongoing support in using the safer-conception method they selected. Content analysis of interview transcripts was used to identify themes related to the benefits and challenges of safer-conception counseling. Results: Almost two-thirds of participants felt that safer-conception counseling was an empowering experience that enabled them to make informed choices regarding childbearing, learn how to conceive safely and understand how to stay healthy while trying to conceive. Timed unprotected intercourse was the most frequently used safer-conception method. Seven couples had successful pregnancies, and no uninfected partners seroconverted. Participants' primary concerns and challenges regarding counseling and method use were issues with manual self-insemination, difficulty with engaging partners and fear of HIV infection. Conclusions: Counseling can help HIV-infected individuals make informed choices about childbearing and safer-conception methods; however, a controlled clinical trial is needed to determine whether clients use such methods correctly and to assess rates of pregnancy and transmission. Policymakers need to consider including safer-conception counseling as part of routine HIV care.
... We therefore recommend embedding safer conception within HIV services, with family planning, STI, and antenatal and postnatal care providers receiving basic training to facilitate appropriate client referrals. A service delivery framework will need to clarify which providers and sites are responsible for safer conception service delivery, in order to engage relevant providers [36]. Communication strategies to inform communities of their availability will also be required. ...
Article
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Introduction: Safer conception care encompasses HIV care, treatment and prevention for persons living with HIV and their partners who desire children. In 2012, South Africa endorsed a progressive safer conception policy supporting HIV-affected persons to safely meet reproductive goals. However, aside from select research-supported clinics, widespread implementation has not occurred. Using South Africa as a case study, we identify key obstacles to policy implementation and offer recommendations to catalyse expansion of these services throughout South Africa and further afield. Discussion: Four key implementation barriers were identified by combining authors’ safer conception service delivery experiences with available literature. First, strategic implementation frameworks stipulating where, and by whom, safer conception services should be provided are needed. Integrating safer conception services into universal test-and-treat (UTT) and elimination-of-mother-to-child-transmission (eMTCT) priority programmes would support HIV testing, ART initiation and management, viral suppression and early antenatal/eMTCT care engagement goals, reducing horizontal and vertical transmissions. Embedding measurable safer conception targets into these priority programmes would ensure accountability for implementation progress. Second, facing an organizational clinic culture that often undermines clients’ reproductive rights, healthcare providers’ (HCP) positive experiences with eMTCT and enthusiasm for UTT provide opportunities to shift facility-level and individual attitudes in favour of safer conception provision. Third, safer conception guidelines have not been incorporated into HCP training. Combining safer conception with “test-and-treat” training would efficiently ensure that providers are better equipped to discuss clients’ reproductive goals and support safer conception practices. Lastly, HIV-affected couples remain largely unaware of safer conception strategies. HIV-affected populations need to be mobilized to engage with safer conception options alongside other HIV-related healthcare services. Conclusion: Key barriers to widespread safer conception service provision in South Africa include poor translation of policy into practical and measurable implementation plans, inadequate training and limited community engagement. South Africa should leverage the momentum and accountability associated with high priority UTT and eMTCT programmes to reinvigorate implementation efforts by incorporating safer conception into implementation and monitoring frameworks and associated HCP training and community engagement activities. South Africa’s experiences should be used to inform policy development and implementation processes in other HIV high-burden countries.
... We therefore recommend embedding safer conception within HIV services, with family planning, STI, and antenatal and postnatal care providers receiving basic training to facilitate appropriate client referrals. A service delivery framework will need to clarify which providers and sites are responsible for safer conception service delivery, in order to engage relevant providers [36]. Communication strategies to inform communities of their availability will also be required. ...
Preprint
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Background There is a need for information and healthcare support for fertility desires and contraceptive needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV), and to provide safer conception support for sero-discordant couples wanting to conceive. A model to integrate sexual and reproductive health and HIV services was developed and implemented in a district hospital and six clinics in eThekwini District, South Africa. Methods To evaluate the model’s success, a cross-sectional survey was conducted before and after implementation. As part of this evaluation, fertility desires of PLHIV (both male and female), and providers’ perspectives thereof were explored. Changes in desires and attitudes after integration of services were investigated. Results Forty-six healthcare providers and 269 clients (48 male, 221 female) were surveyed at baseline, and 44 providers and 300 clients (70 male, 230 female) at endline. Various factors including relationship status, parity and ART access influenced PLHIVs’ desires for children. Concerns for their own and their child’s health impacted on PLHIV’s fertility desires. These concerns declined after integration of services. Similarly, providers’ concerns about PLHIV having children decreased after the implementation of the model. Conclusions Integrated services are important to facilitate provision of information on contraceptive options as well as safer conception information for PLHIV who want to have children.
Article
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High rates of fertility desires, childbearing and serodiscordant partnerships among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Uganda underscore the need to promote use of safer conception methods (SCM). Effective SCM exist but few PLHIV benefit from provider-led safer conception counseling (SCC) and comprehensive national SCC guidelines are still lacking. Providers’ self-efficacy, intentions and attitudes for SCC impact provision and should inform development of services, but there are no longitudinal studies that assess these important constructs. This study reports on changes in providers’ knowledge, attitudes, motivation and confidence to provide SCC among a 24-month observational cohort of Ugandan HIV providers. Compared to baseline, providers evidenced increased awareness of SCM, perceived greater value in providing SCC, saw all SCM but sperm washing as likely to be acceptable to clients, reported consistently high interest in and peer support for providing SCC, and perceived fewer barriers at the 24-month follow-up. Providers’ intentions for providing SCC stayed consistently high for all SCM except manual self-insemination which decreased at 24 months. Self-efficacy for providing SCC increased from baseline with the greatest improvement in providers’ confidence in advising serodiscordant couples where the man is HIV-infected. Providers consistently cite the lack of established guidelines, training, and their own reluctance to broach the issue with clients as significant barriers to providing SCC. Despite providers being more interested and open to providing SCC than ever, integration of SCC into standard HIV services has not happened. Concerted efforts are needed to address remaining barriers by establishing national SCC guidelines and implementing quality provider training.
Article
Purpose of review: Contraception is a vital component of medical care for women with HIV or at high risk of acquiring HIV. Over the last several years, there has been emerging evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of various contraceptive methods, ultimately leading to a revision in the WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for contraceptive use. Recent findings: Progestogen-only injectables may be associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition and its use has been revised to category 2 from category 1. Etonogestrel and levonorgestrel levels are lower in women who concurrently use contraceptive implant and efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy. Multipurpose technology, aimed at providing antiretroviral medication and contraception, is an area of ongoing research but is not yet clinically available. Summary: It is important for providers who care for women with HIV or at high risk of HIV to inquire about pregnancy intentions. If contraception is desired, these women should be offered all available methods, with counseling regarding possible risks of contraceptive failure or HIV acquisition.
Article
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Ninety years ago the isolation of insulin transformed the lives of people with type 1 diabetes. Now, models based on empirical data estimate that a 25-year-old person with HIV, when appropriately treated with antiretroviral therapy, can expect to enjoy a median survival of 35 years, remarkably similar to that for someone of the same age with type 1 diabetes. It is high time we normalised the lives of people living positively with HIV. This includes the basic human right to conceive and raise children. HIV-positive individuals may be in serodiscordant relationships or in seroconcordant relationships. As health care providers, it is our responsibility to ensure we understand the opportunities and risks of natural conception in these scenarios, so that we can help our patients to make informed decisions about their own lives. Most of all, it is our duty to make family planning in the setting of positive prevention as safe as we can. This includes informed decisions on contraception, adoption, fostering, conception and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Some months ago a dedicated group of individuals, invited and sponsored by the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, came together in Cape Town to devise guidance in this area, recognising that there are ideal strategies that may be outside the realm of the resource constraints of the public sector or health programmes in southern Africa. This guideline therefore attempts to provide a range of strategies for various resource settings. It is up to us, the providers, to familiarise ourselves with the merits/benefits and risks of each, and to then engage patients in meaningful discussions. All the above, however, is based on the premise and prerequisite that the subject of family planning is actively raised and frequently discussed in our patient encounters.Please find a link to the update of this guideline: http://sajhivmed.org.za/index.php/hivmed/article/view/399
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Safer conception strategies create opportunities for HIV-serodiscordant couples to realize fertility goals and minimize periconception HIV transmission. Patient-provider communication about fertility goals is the first step in safer conception counseling. We explored provider practices of assessing fertility intentions among HIV-infected men and women, attitudes toward people living with HIV (PLWH) having children, and knowledge and provision of safer conception advice. We conducted in-depth interviews (9 counselors, 15 nurses, 5 doctors) and focus group discussions (6 counselors, 7 professional nurses) in eThekwini District, South Africa. Data were translated, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis with NVivo10 software. Among 42 participants, median age was 41 (range, 28-60) years, 93% (39) were women, and median years worked in the clinic was 7 (range, 1-27). Some providers assessed women's, not men's, plans for having children at antiretroviral therapy initiation, to avoid fetal exposure to efavirenz. When conducted, reproductive counseling included CD4 cell count and HIV viral load assessment, advising mutual HIV status disclosure, and referral to another provider. Barriers to safer conception counseling included provider assumptions of HIV seroconcordance, low knowledge of safer conception strategies, personal feelings toward PLWH having children, and challenges to tailoring safer sex messages. Providers need information about HIV serodiscordance and safer conception strategies to move beyond discussing only perinatal transmission and maternal health for PLWH who choose to conceive. Safer conception counseling may be more feasible if the message is distilled to delaying conception attempts until the infected partner is on antiretroviral therapy. Designated and motivated nurse providers may be required to provide comprehensive safer conception counseling.
Article
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Men and women living with HIV with access to ARVs are living longer, healthier lives that can and often do include bearing children. Children occupy a key space in men and women's personal and social lives and often play a fundamental role in maintaining these relationships, irrespective of illness concerns. Couples living with HIV need to balance prevention needs and ill-health while trying to maintain healthy relationships. Health-care providers serving the reproductive needs of HIV-affected couples need to consider the social and relational factors shaping reproductive decisions associated with periconception risk behaviors. This paper based on qualitative research at three hospital sites in eThekwini District, South Africa, investigates the childbearing intentions and needs of people living with HIV (PLHIV), and the attitudes and experiences of health-care providers serving the reproductive needs of PLHIV, and client and provider views and knowledge of safer conception. This research revealed that personal, social, and relationship dynamics shape the reproductive decisions of PLHIV, and "unplanned" pregnancies are not always unintended. Additionally, conception desires are not driven by the number of living children; rather clients are motivated by whether or not they have had any children with their current partner/spouse. Providers should consider the relationship status of clients in discussions about childbearing desires and intentions. Although many providers recognize the complex social realities shaping their clients' reproductive decisions, they have outdated information on serving their reproductive needs. Appropriate training to enable providers to better understand the relationship and social realities surrounding their clients' childbearing intentions is required and should be used as a platform for couples to work together with providers toward safer conception. The adoption of a more participatory approach should be employed to equalize client-provider power dynamics and to ensure clients are more involved in decision-making about reproduction and conception.
Article
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Abstract In this qualitative study, researchers assessed knowledge, acceptability and feasibility of safer conception methods [SCM; timed unprotected intercourse (TUI), manual self-insemination, and sperm washing] among various healthcare providers (n = 33) and 48 HIV clients with recent or current childbearing intentions in Uganda. While several clients and providers had heard of SCM, (especially TUI); few fully understood how to use the methods. All provider types expressed a desire to incorporate SCM into their practice; however, this will require training and counseling protocols, sensitization to overcome cultural norms that pose obstacles to these methods, and partner engagement (particularly men) in safer conception counseling.
Article
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Introduction Introduction Safer conception interventions should ideally involve both members of an HIV-affected couple. With serodiscordant couples, healthcare providers will need to manage periconception risk behaviour as well tailor safer conception strategies according to available resources and the HIV status of each partner. Prior to widespread implementation of safer conception services, it is crucial to better understand provider perspectives regarding provision of care since they will be pivotal to the successful delivery of safer conception. This paper reports on findings from a qualitative study exploring the viewpoints and experiences of doctors, nurses, and lay counsellors on safer conception care in a rural and in an urban setting in Durban, South Africa. Methods We conducted six semistructured individual interviews per site (a total of 12 interviews) as well as a focus group discussion at each clinic site (a total of 13 additional participants). All interviews were coded in Atlas.ti using a grounded theory approach to develop codes and to identify core themes and subthemes in the data. Results Managing the clinical and relationship complexities related to serodiscordant couples wishing to conceive was flagged as a concern by all categories of health providers. Providers added that, in the HIV clinical setting, they often found it difficult to balance their professional priorities, to maintain the health of their clients, and to ensure that partners were not exposed to unnecessary risk, while still supporting their clients’ desires to have a child. Many providers expressed concern over issues related to disclosure of HIV status between partners, particularly when managing couples where one partner was not aware of the other's status and expressed the desire for a child. Provider experiences were that female clients most often sought out care, and it was difficult to reach the male partner to include him in the consultation. Conclusions Providers require support in dealing with HIV disclosure issues and in becoming more confident in dealing with couples and serodiscordance. Prior to implementing safer conception programmes, focused training is needed for healthcare professionals to address some of the ethical and relationship issues that are critical in the context of safer conception care.
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The World Health Organization has produced clear guidelines for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). However, ensuring that all PMTCT programme components are implemented to a high quality in all facilities presents challenges. Although South Africa initiated its PMTCT programme in 2002, later than most other countries, political support has increased since 2008. Operational research has received more attention and objective data have been used more effectively. In 2010, around 30% of all pregnant women in South Africa were HIV-positive and half of all deaths in children younger than 5 years were associated with the virus. Between 2008 and 2011, the estimated proportion of HIV-exposed infants younger than 2 months who underwent routine polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to detect early HIV transmission increased from 36.6% to 70.4%. The estimated HIV transmission rate decreased from 9.6% to 2.8%. Population-based surveys in 2010 and 2011 reported transmission rates of 3.5% and 2.7%, respectively. CRITICAL ACTIONS FOR IMPROVING PROGRAMME OUTCOMES INCLUDED: ensuring rapid implementation of changes in PMTCT policy at the field level through training and guideline dissemination; ensuring good coordination with technical partners, such as international health agencies and international and local nongovernmental organizations; and making use of data and indicators on all aspects of the PMTCT programme. Enabling health-care staff at primary care facilities to initiate antiretroviral therapy and expanding laboratory services for measuring CD4+ T-cell counts and for PCR testing were also helpful.
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HIV serodiscordant couples represent at least half of all HIV-affected couples worldwide. Many of these couples have childbearing desires. Safer methods of conception may allow for pregnancy while minimizing the risk of sexual transmission of HIV. In serodiscordant partnerships with an HIV-infected female and HIV-uninfected male, vaginal insemination of a partner's semen during the fertile period coupled with 100% condom use may be the safest method of conception.
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Integration of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV services is a policy priority, both globally and in South Africa. Recent studies examining SRH/HIV integration in South Africa have focused primarily on the SRH needs of HIV patients, and less on the policy and service-delivery environment in which these programs operate. To fill this gap we undertook a qualitative study to elicit the views of key informants on policy-and service-level challenges and opportunities for improving integrated SRH and HIV care in South Africa. This study comprised formative research for the development of an integrated service delivery model in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 expert key informants from the South African Department of Health, and local and international NGOs and universities. Thematic codes were generated from a subset of the transcripts, and these were modified, refined and organized during coding and analysis. While there was consensus among key informants on the need for more integrated systems of SRH and HIV care in South Africa, a range of inter-related systems factors at policy and service-delivery levels were identified as challenges to delivering integrated care. At the policy level these included vertical programming, lack of policy guidance on integrated care, under-funding of SRH, program territorialism, and weak referral systems; at the service level, factors included high client load, staff shortages and insufficient training and skills in SRH, resistance to change, and inadequate monitoring systems related to integration. Informants had varying views on the best way to achieve integration: while some favored a one-stop shop approach, others preferred retaining sub-specialisms while strengthening referral systems. The introduction of task-shifting policies and decentralization of HIV treatment to primary care provide opportunities for integrating services. Now that HIV treatment programs have been scaled up, actions are needed at both policy and service-delivery levels to develop an integrated approach to the provision of SRH and HIV services in South Africa. Concurrent national policies to deliver HIV treatment within a primary care context can be used to promote more integrated approaches.
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South Africa has responded to the sexually transmissible infection and HIV epidemic with a rapid expansion of its national-level public sector condom program. Male condoms are available widely at no cost in the public sector, with expanded access via social marketing and the private sector. The female condom program is one of the largest and best established globally. National surveys show progressive increases in rates of condom use at last sex. However, inconsistent and incorrect condom use and the likelihood that condoms are discontinued in longer-term partnerships are some of the challenges impeding the condom program's successes in the fight against sexually transmissible infections and HIV. This article reviews the current condom program, related guidelines and policies, and the existing data on male and female condom use, including distribution and uptake. We discuss the main challenges to condom use, including both user and service-related issues and finally how these challenges could be addressed.
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Though still limited in scale, work with men to achieve gender equality is occurring on every continent and in many countries. A rapidly expanding evidence base demonstrates that rigorously implemented initiatives targeting men can change social practices that affect the health of both sexes, particularly in the context of HIV and AIDS. Too often however, messages only address the harm that regressive masculinity norms cause women, while neglecting the damage done to men by these norms. This article calls for a more inclusive approach which recognizes that men, far from being a monolithic group, have unequal access to health and rights depending on other intersecting forms of discrimination based on race, class, sexuality, disability, nationality, and the like. Messages that target men only as holders of privilege miss men who are disempowered or who themselves challenge rigid gender roles. The article makes recommendations which move beyond treating men simply as "the problem", and instead lays a foundation for engaging men both as agents of change and holders of rights to the ultimate benefit of women and men. Human rights and other policy interventions must avoid regressive stereotyping, and successful local initiatives should be taken to scale nationally and internationally.
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High fertility intentions amongst HIV-positive women have been reported elsewhere. Less is known about how clinical and HIV treatment characteristics correlate with fertility intentions. We use cross-sectional baseline data from a prospective cohort study to assess pregnancy intentions and patient-provider communication around fertility. Non-pregnant, HIV-positive women aged 18-35 on ART were recruited through convenience sampling at Johannesburg antiretroviral (ART) treatment facilities. Among the 850 women in this analysis, those on efavirenz had similar fertility intentions over the next year as women on nevirapine-based regimens (33% vs. 38%). In multivariate analysis, recent ART initiation was associated with higher current fertility intentions; there was no association with CD4 cell count. Forty-one percent of women had communicated with providers about future pregnancy options. Women on ART may choose to conceive at times that are sub-optimal for maternal, child and partner health outcomes and should be routinely counseled around safer pregnancy options.
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We investigated whether the intention to have children varied according to HIV status and use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in Soweto, South Africa. We used survey data from 674 women aged 18 to 44 years recruited from the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto (May through December 2007); 217 were HIV-positive HAART users (median duration of use = 31 months; interquartile range = 28, 33), 215 were HIV-positive and HAART-naive, and 242 were HIV negative. Logistic regression models examined associations between HIV status, HAART use, and intention to have children. Overall, 44% of women reported intent to have children, with significant variation by HIV status: 31% of HAART users, 29% of HAART-naive women, and 68% of HIV-negative women (P < .001). In adjusted models, HIV-positive women were nearly 60% less likely to report childbearing intentions compared with HIV-negative women (for HAART users, adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.23, 0.69; for HAART-naive women, AOR = 0.35; 95% CI = 0.21, 0.60), with minimal differences according to use or duration of HAART. Integrated HIV, HAART, and reproductive health services must be provided to support the rights of all women to safely achieve their fertility goals.
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As life expectancy for HIV-infected persons improves, studies in sub-Saharan Africa show that a considerable proportion of HIV-positive women and men desire to have children. Integrating sexual and reproductive health care into HIV services has until now emphasized the right of women to make informed choices about their reproductive lives and the right of self-determination to reproduce, but this is often equated with avoidance of pregnancy. Here, we explore guidance and attention to safer conception for HIV-infected women and men. We find this right lacking. Current sexual and reproductive health guidelines are not proactive in supporting HIV-positive people desiring children, and are particularly silent about the fertility needs of HIV-infected men and uninfected men in discordant partnerships. Public health policymakers and providers need to engage the HIV-infected and uninfected to determine both the demand for and how best to address the need for safer conception services.
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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.
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To assess the association between antiretroviral therapy (ART) and fertility history and desire among HIV-positive Ugandan women, we conducted a cross-sectional study among HIV-positive Ugandan women aged 18-50 years who attended an HIV clinic at Mbarara University in western Uganda between November 1, 2005 and June 6, 2006. Of 538 women approached, 501 were enrolled. ART use was associated with increased odds of fertility desire (AOR 2.99, 95% CI 1.38-6.28), and decreased odds of pregnancy (AOR 0.56, 95% CI 0.33-0.95) and live birth (AOR 0.30, 95% CI 0.13-0.66). ART was associated with an increase in fertility desire, but was not associated with an increase in fertility. Additional studies will be needed to determine if this greater fertility desire among ART-treated women leads to an increase in fertility as ART use expands.
Article
Ninety years ago the isolation of insulin transformed the lives of people with type 1 diabetes. Now, models based on empirical data estimate that a 25-year-old person with HIV, when appropriately treated with antiretroviral therapy, can expect to enjoy a median survival of 35 years, remarkably similar to that for someone of the same age with type 1 diabetes. It is high time we normalised the lives of people living positively with HIV. This includes the basic human right to conceive and raise children. HIV-positive individuals may be in serodiscordant relationships or in seroconcordant relationships. As health care providers, it is our responsibility to ensure we understand the opportunities and risks of natural conception in these scenarios, so that we can help our patients to make informed decisions about their own lives. Most of all, it is our duty to make family planning in the setting of positive prevention as safe as we can. This includes informed decisions on contraception, adoption, fostering, conception and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Some months ago a dedicated group of individuals, invited and sponsored by the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society, came together in Cape Town to devise guidance in this area, recognising that there are ideal strategies that may be outside the realm of the resource constraints of the public sector or health programmes in southern Africa. This guideline therefore attempts to provide a range of strategies for various resource settings. It is up to us, the providers, to familiarise ourselves with the merits/benefits and risks of each, and to then engage patients in meaningful discussions. All the above, however, is based on the premise and prerequisite that the subject of family planning is actively raised and frequently discussed in our patient encounters. Please find a link to the update of this guideline: http://sajhivmed.org.za/index.php/hivmed/article/view/399
Article
The reproductive desires of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) of low socioeconomic standing attending public health facilities in South Africa were studied. HIV-positive men, pregnant and non-pregnant women were recruited from two clinics at a large public hospital in Tshwane, South Africa. Individual interviews were used to explore the reproductive desires of HIV-positive participants. HIV counsellors' perceptions of their clients' reproductive desires were explored during focus group discussions. Parenthood proved to be an important factor to all participants in continuation of the family and establishing their gender identities, despite the possible risk of HIV transmission and community stigmatization. Different cultural procreation rules for men and women and stigmatizing attitudes towards PLHIV affected their reproductive decision making. Women had the dilemma of choosing which community expectations they wanted to fulfil. Community stigmatization towards PLHIV was visible in the negative attitudes of some HIV counsellors regarding HIV and procreation. Because the reproductive desires of PLHIV are currently not given high priority in HIV prevention and family planning in the public health sector in South Africa, the prevention of HIV transmission may be jeopardized. These results necessitate the integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health counselling on a primary health care level. Copyright © 2015 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
Intended conception likely contributes to a significant proportion of new HIV infections in South Africa. Safer conception strategies require healthcare provider-client communication about fertility intentions, periconception risks, and options to modify those risks. We conducted in-depth interviews with 35 HIV-infected men and women accessing care in South Africa to explore barriers and promoters to patient-provider communication around fertility desires and intentions. Few participants had discussed personal fertility goals with providers. Discussions about pregnancy focused on maternal and child health, not sexual HIV transmission; no participants had received tailored safer conception advice. Although participants welcomed safer conception counseling, barriers to client-initiated discussions included narrowly focused prevention messages and perceptions that periconception transmission risk is not modifiable. Supporting providers to assess clients' fertility intentions and offer appropriate advice, and public health campaigns that address sexual HIV transmission in the context of conception may improve awareness of and access to safer conception strategies.
Article
The risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission to the female partner, or potential offspring of an HIV-1 infected man can be reduced using semen decontamination procedures before assisted reproductive treatment (ART). The objective of this study was to determine the efficiency of decontaminating semen samples (n = 186) from 95 HIV-1 sero-positive patients. Aliquots of neat semen were submitted for viral validation by qualitative and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Semen samples were processed by density gradient centrifugation in combination with a ProInsert™ tube after which aliquots of the processed sperm samples were analysed for the presence of HIV-1. Fifty-four percent of all tested neat semen samples tested positive for HIV-1 DNA, RNA or both (13.4%, 11.3% and 29.0%, respectively). From a total of 103 processed sperm samples that were submitted for viral validation, two samples tested positive for HIV-1 DNA and none for RNA. In conclusion, semen processing with the ProInsert™ followed by viral validation of processed sperm samples should be carried out when providing ART to couples where the male partner is HIV-1 sero-positive. Copyright © 2014 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
A growing understanding in the international public health community of the role of gender in reproductive health has helped to make reproductive health professionals aware of the need to develop creative strategies to reach men. While pilot programs and initiatives for including men in family planning and other reproductive health services have existed for more than 20 years in a number of countries only few are well-established and even fewer have been fully integrated into countries health care systems. Program managers and policymakers in many countries have routinely assumed that men are not interested in or supportive of family planning and contraceptive use even though recent research indicates that many men are. Research also indicates that many women want men to become more involved in reproductive health decision-making and activities. 145 men and women from more than a dozen mainly African and Asian countries met in Mombasa Kenya in May 1997 to share their experiences with knowledge of and concerns about fostering mens involvement in reproductive health care. Conference participants developed and presented plans to create programs for men in their countries with the goal of integrating them into existing national reproductive health systems.
Conference Paper
Background: Effectiveness of implementing the 2010 WHO PMTCT recommendations has not been assessed at population level. SA began implementation of the WHO PMTCT Option-A recommendation in April 2010. We assessed the impact of the first year of implementation of Option-A on perinatal MTCT measured at 4-8wks postpartum. Methods: We conducted a nationally representative, cross-sectional facility-based survey of infant-caregiver pairs attending the first immunization visit using a stratified multi-stage sampling design. Data were collected through caregiver interviews and/or from Road-to-Health cards between August 2011 and February 2012. HIV-exposed infants (HEI) were identified if their dried-blood-spot (DBS) specimens collected at 4-8wks were HIV-antibody positive. DBS specimens of HEI were then tested for HIV infection using DNA-PCR. Results: Of 9793 enrolled caregiver-infant pairs, 2914 (29.8%) HEI were identified. Of 2454 HEI whose mothers knew their own infection status, triple-antiretrovirals were provided to 1075 (43.8%) mothers of whom 72% with CD4 counts ≤350 cell/l and 25.5% with CD4 counts >350 cell/l. The unweighted national MTCT rate measured at 4-8wks postpartum was 3.0%. Controlling for maternal CD4, odds of MTCT were higher in mother-HEI pairs receiving ≤10wks of maternal-AZT and infant-NVP at birth compared with those receiving >10wks of the same regimen (AOR=2.4; 95%CI 1.1-5.5). Conclusion: After one year implementing the 2010 WHO Option-A PMTCT recommendations, SA has decreased MTCT measured at 4-8wks postpartum to 3%. Data suggest that early antiretroviral initiation is likely to increase effectiveness. Overall MTCT and survival rates around 18-months are needed to estimate the effectiveness of extended NVP-prophylaxis during breastfeeding.
Article
With availability of antiretroviral treatments, HIV is increasingly recognised as a chronic disease people live with for many years. This paper critically reviews the current literature on fertility desires and reproductive intentions among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) and critiques the theoretical frameworks and methodologies used. A systematic review was conducted using electronic databases: ISI Web of Knowledge, Science Direct, Proquest, Jstor and CINAHL for articles published between 1990 and 2008. The search terms used were fertility desire, pregnancy, HIV, reproductive decision making, reproductive intentions, motherhood, fatherhood and parenthood. Twenty-nine studies were reviewed. Fertility desires were influenced by a myriad of demographic, health, stigma-associated and psychosocial factors. Cultural factors were also important, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Future research that examines fertility desires among PLHIV should include cultural beliefs and practices in the theoretical framework in order to provide a holistic understanding and to enable development of services that meet the reproductive needs of PLHIV.
Article
Access to reproductive health services for women with HIV is critical to ensuring their reproductive needs are addressed and their reproductive rights are protected. In addition, preventing unintended pregnancies in women with HIV is an essential component of a comprehensive prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme. As a result, a call for stronger linkages between sexual and reproductive health and HIV policies, programmes and services has been issued by several international organizations. However, implementers of PMTCT and other HIV programmes have been constrained in translating these goals into practice. The obstacles include: (i) the narrow focus of current PMTCT programmes on treating HIV-positive women who are already pregnant; (ii) separate, parallel funding mechanisms for sexual and reproductive health and HIV programmes; (iii) political resistance from major HIV funders and policy-makers to include sexual and reproductive health as an important HIV programme component; and (iv) gaps in the evidence base regarding effective approaches for integrating sexual and reproductive health and HIV services. However, we now have a new opportunity to address these essential linkages. More supportive political views in the United States of America and the emergence of health systems strengthening as a priority global health initiative provide important springboards for advancing the agenda on linkages between sexual and reproductive health and HIV. By tapping into these platforms for advocating and by continuing to invest in research to identify integrated service delivery best practices, we have an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two synergistic fields.
Article
The HIV epidemic has changed the face of women's reproductive health across southern Africa. In some circles, there have been calls for restrictions on women's reproductive rights, focusing particularly on the spread of HIV between sexual partners and from mother to child. However, during the past decade, public health attention and resources for the clinical care of HIV-infected individuals living in Africa have led to advances in women's reproductive health services. As many programs have recognized that effective HIV care and treatment services must link to other areas of primary care, key reproductive health services such as those providing contraception and barrier methods are commonly integrated into antiretroviral therapy services. In much of the region, this programmatic focus has helped increase attention on the ground to women's reproductive rights. However, in many settings, policies explicitly supporting the reproductive rights of HIV-infected women have lagged. Important gaps remain both in policy development and in the design, evaluation, and implementation of interventions promoting women's reproductive health and rights at the service delivery level.
Article
Libro de metodología cualitativo para investigación en las ciencias sociales. La utilización de la computadora, el uso de datos y la recolección de los mismos. Se describen detalladamente numerosos métodos de datos y análisis.
Article
Despite the increased emphasis on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other health care services for HIV-infected individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, issues of fertility and childbearing have received relatively little attention. In particular, little is known about the prevalence and determinants of fertility intentions among HIV-infected women and men who are receiving ART. We conducted a cross-sectional study from August to November 2005 investigating these issues among patients attending a public sector ART service who had been receiving ART for at least one month. Overall, 311 individuals were interviewed (median age, 33 years) and 29% (n = 89) stated that they wanted to have children in the future. This proportion was slightly higher among males than females (36% versus 26%, p = 0.09). In a multivariate model predicting fertility desire among all participants, fertility desire was associated with male gender (odds ratio (OR):2.58; 95% confidence interval [CI]:1.29-5.08), younger age (OR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.87-0.97), decreased number of children (OR: 0.32; 95% CI: 0.15-0.69), and being in a relationship of less than 5 years (OR: 3.93; 95% CI: 1.91-8.08). In addition, fertility desire was associated with increasing duration of ART among female participants, but not among males. These results suggest that a substantial proportion of HIV-infected women and men receiving ART in this setting would like to have children in the future. This highlights the importance of incorporating fertility-related counseling, as well as contraception and advice regarding safe conception and childbirth, as appropriate, into HIV treatment services. These findings also suggest that fertility desires may change through time and thus require ongoing attention as part of long-term care.
Article
To examine the safety and effectiveness of assisted reproduction using sperm washing for HIV-1-serodiscordant couples wishing to procreate where the male partner is infected. A retrospective multicentre study at eight centres adhering on the European network CREAThE and involving 1036 serodiscordant couples wishing to procreate. Sperm washing was used to obtain motile spermatozoa for 3390 assisted reproduction cycles (2840 intrauterine inseminations, 107 in-vitro fertilizations, 394 intra-cytoplasmic sperm injections and 49 frozen embryo transfers). An HIV test was performed in female partners at least 6 months after assisted reproduction attempt. The outcome measures recorded were number of assisted reproduction cycles, pregnancy outcome and HIV test on women post-treatment. A total of 580 pregnancies were obtained from 3315 cycles. Pregnancy outcome was unknown in 47 cases. The 533 pregnancies resulted in 410 deliveries and 463 live births. The result of female HIV testing after assisted reproduction was known in 967 out of 1036 woman (7.1% lost to follow-up). All tests recorded were negative. The calculated probability of contamination was equal to zero (95% confidence interval, 0-0.09%). This first multicentre retrospective study of assisted reproduction following sperm washing demonstrates the method to be effective and to significantly reduce HIV-1 transmission risk to the uninfected female partner. These results support the view that assisted reproduction with sperm washing could not be denied to serodiscordant couples in developed countries and, where possible, could perhaps be integrated into a global public health initiative against HIV in developing countries.
Article
Global debates in approaches to HIV/AIDS control have recently moved away from a uniformly strong human rights-based focus. Public health utilitarianism has become increasingly important in shaping national and international policies. However, potentially contradictory imperatives may require reconciliation of individual reproductive and other human rights with public health objectives. Current reproductive health guidelines remain largely non prescriptive on the advisability of pregnancy amongst HIV-positive couples, mainly relying on effective counselling to enable autonomous decision making by clients. Yet, health care provider values and attitudes may substantially impact on the effectiveness of non prescriptive guidelines,particularly where social norms and stereotypes regarding childbearing are powerful, and where providers are subjected to dual loyalty pressures, with potentially adverse impacts on rights of service users. Data from a study of user experiences and perceptions of reproductive and HIV/AIDS services are used to illustrate a rights analysis of how reproductive health policy should integrate a rights perspective into the way services engage with HIV-positive persons and their reproductive choices. The analysis draws on recognised tools developed to evaluate health policies for their human rights impacts and on a model developed for health equity research in South Africa to argue for greater recognition of agency on the part of persons affected by HIV/AIDS in the development and content of policies on reproductive choices. We conclude by proposing strategies that are based upon a synergy between human rights and public health approaches to policy on reproductive health choices for persons with HIV/AIDS.
The 2012 National Antenatal Sentinel HIV and Herpes Simplex type-2 prevalence Survey, South Africa. National Department of Health
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Involving men in safe motherhood
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