PloS one 2016 09 0911(9) e0160190 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0160190
Rates of pregnancy among women living with HIV (WLHIV) have increased with the availability of effective HIV treatment. Planning for pregnancy and childbirth is an increasingly important element of HIV care. Though rates of unintended pregnancies are high among women in general, among couples affected by HIV, significant planning and reproductive decisions must be considered to prevent negative health consequences for WLHIV and their neonates. To gain insight into this reproductive decision-making process among WLHIV, this study explored women’s knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding fertility planning, reproductive desires, and safer conception practices. It was hypothesized that pregnancy desires would be influenced by partners, families, the potential risk of HIV transmission to infants, and physicians’ recommendations.
WLHIV of childbearing age were recruited from urban South Florida, and completed an assessment of demographics (N = 49), fertility desires and a conjoint survey of factors associated with reproductive decision-making.
Using conjoint analysis, we found that different decision paths exist for different types of women: Younger women and those with less education desired children if their partners wanted children; reproductive desires among those with less education, and with less HIV pregnancy-related knowledge, displayed a trend toward additional emphasis on their family’s desires. Conversely, older women and those with more education appeared to place more importance on physician endorsement in their plans for childbearing.
Results of this study highlight the importance of ongoing preconception counselling for all women of reproductive age during routine HIV care. Counselling should be tailored to patient characteristics, and physicians should consider inclusion of families and/or partners in the process.