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.
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.
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.
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.