Preventing unintended pregnancy among HIV-positive women constitutes a critical and cost-effective approach to primary prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and is a global public health priority for addressing the desperate state of maternal and child health in HIV hyper-endemic settings. We sought to investigate whether the prevalence of contraceptive use and method preferences varied by HIV status and receipt of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in Soweto, South Africa.
We used survey data from 563 sexually active, non-pregnant women (18–44 years) recruited from the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto (May–December, 2007); 171 women were HIV-positive and receiving HAART (median duration of use = 31 months; IQR = 28, 33), 178 were HIV-positive and HAART-naïve, and 214 were HIV-negative. Medical record review was conducted to confirm HIV status and clinical variables. Logistic regression models estimated adjusted associations between HIV status, receipt of HAART, and contraceptive use.
Overall, 78% of women reported using contraception, with significant variation by HIV status: 86% of HAART users, 82% of HAART-naïve women, and 69% of HIV-negative women (p<0.0001). In adjusted models, compared with HIV-negative women, women receiving HAART were significantly more likely to use contraception while HAART-naïve women were non-significantly more likely (AOR: 2.40; 95% CI: 1.25, 4.62 and AOR: 1.59; 95% CI: 0.88, 2.85; respectively). Among HIV-positive women, HAART users were non-significantly more likely to use contraception compared with HAART-naïve women (AOR: 1.55; 95% CI: 0.84, 2.88). Similar patterns held for specific use of barrier (primarily male condoms), permanent, and dual protection contraceptive methods.
Among HIV-positive women receiving HAART, the observed higher prevalence of contraceptive use overall and condoms in particular promises to yield fewer unintended pregnancies and reduced risks of vertical and sexual HIV transmission. These findings highlight the potential of integrated HIV and reproductive health services to positively impact maternal, partner, and child health.
Like all women, women living with and at risk of acquiring HIV have the right to determine the number and timing of their pregnancies and to safely achieve their reproductive intentions. Yet, many women in Asia affected by HIV lack access to family planning services and experience disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Programs that have succeeded in promoting condom use and providing HIV prevention and treatment services in this region have largely missed the opportunity to address the contraceptive needs of the key populations they serve. The importance of better linkages between family planning and HIV policies and programs is now widely recognized by global health policymakers and donors. However, to date, most of the efforts to improve these linkages have been conducted in Africa. Greater attention is needed to the developing, implementing, and evaluating of integrated family planning/HIV approaches that are tailored to the political, cultural, and public health context in Asia. In this paper, we describe the use of and need for family planning among key populations affected by HIV in Asia, discuss the challenges to effectively addressing of these needs, and offer recommendations for strengthening the linkages between family planning and HIV policies and programs in the region.
The prevention of unintended pregnancies among HIV positive women is a neglected strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Women who want to avoid unintended pregnancies can do this by using a modern contraceptive method. Contraceptive choice, in particular the use of long acting and permanent methods (LAPMs), is poorly understood among HIV-positive women. This study aimed to compare factors that influence women's choice in contraception and women's knowledge and attitudes towards the IUD and female sterilization by HIV-status in a high HIV prevalence setting, Cape Town, South Africa.
A quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted using an interviewer-administered questionnaire amongst 265 HIV positive and 273 HIV-negative postpartum women in Cape Town. Contraceptive use, reproductive history and the future fertility intentions of postpartum women were compared using chi-squared tests, Wilcoxon rank-sum and Fisher's exact tests where appropriate. Women's knowledge and attitudes towards long acting and permanent methods as well as factors that influence women's choice in contraception were examined.
The majority of women reported that their most recent pregnancy was unplanned (61.6% HIV positive and 63.2% HIV negative). Current use of contraception was high with no difference by HIV status (89.8% HIV positive and 89% HIV negative). Most women were using short acting methods, primarily the 3-monthly injectable (Depo Provera). Method convenience and health care provider recommendations were found to most commonly influence method choice. A small percentage of women (6.44%) were using long acting and permanent methods, all of whom were using sterilization; however, it was found that poor knowledge regarding LAPMs is likely to be contributing to the poor uptake of these methods.
Improving contraceptive counselling to include LAPM and strengthening services for these methods are warranted in this setting for all women regardless of HIV status. These study results confirm that strategies focusing on increasing users' knowledge about LAPM are needed to encourage uptake of these methods and to meet women's needs for an expanded range of contraceptives which will aid in preventing unintended pregnancies. Given that HIV positive women were found to be more favourable to future use of the IUD it is possible that there may be more uptake of the IUD amongst these women.
PMTCT; Contraception; Fertility intentions; Unintended pregnancies; HIV; IUD; Female sterilization
Background. Preventing unintended pregnancy in HIV-positive women can significantly reduce maternal-to-child HIV transmission as well as improve the woman's overall health. Hormonal contraceptives are safe and effective means to avoid unintended pregnancy, but there is concern that coadministration of antiretroviral drugs may alter contraceptive efficacy. Materials and Methods. We performed a literature search of PubMed and Ovid databases of articles published between January 1980 and February 2012 to identify English-language reports of drug-drug interactions between hormonal contraceptives (HCs) and antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). We also reviewed the FDA prescribing information of contraceptive hormone preparations and antiretrovirals for additional data and recommendations. Results. Twenty peer-reviewed publications and 42 pharmaceutical package labels were reviewed. Several studies of combined oral contraceptive pills (COCs) identified decreased serum estrogen and progestin levels when coadministered with certain ARVs. The contraceptive efficacy of injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and the levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) were largely unaffected by ARVs, while data on the contraceptive patch, ring, and implant were lacking. Conclusions. HIV-positive women should be offered a full range of hormonal contraceptive options, with conscientious counseling about possible reduced efficacy of COCs and the contraceptive implant when taken with ARVs. DMPA and the LNG-IUS maintain their contraceptive efficacy when taken with ARVs.
Background. Preventing unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV is an important component of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), yet few data exist on contraceptive use among women entering HIV care. Methods. This was a retrospective study of electronic medical records from the initial HIV clinic visits of 826 sexually active, nonpregnant, 18–49-year old women in southwestern Uganda in 2009. We examined whether contraceptive use was associated with HIV status disclosure to one's spouse. Results. The proportion reporting use of contraception was 27.8%. The most common method used was injectable hormones (51.7%), followed by condoms (29.6%), and oral contraceptives (8.7%). In multivariable analysis, the odds of contraceptive use were significantly higher among women reporting secondary education, higher income, three or more children, and younger age. There were no significant independent associations between contraceptive use and HIV status disclosure to spouse. Discussion. Contraceptive use among HIV-positive females enrolling into HIV care in southwestern Uganda was low. Our results suggest that increased emphasis should be given to increase the contraception uptake for all women especially those with lower education and income. HIV clinics may be prime sites for contraception education and service delivery integration.
Voluntary contraceptive use by HIV-positive women currently prevents more HIV-positive births, at a lower cost, than anti-retroviral drug (ARV) regimens. Despite this evidence, most prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs focus solely on providing ARV prophylaxis to pregnant women and rarely include the prevention of unintended pregnancies among HIV-positive women.
To strengthen support for family planning as HIV prevention, we systematically identified key individuals in the field of international HIV/AIDS—those who could potentially influence the issue—and sought to determine their perceptions of barriers to and facilitators for implementing this PMTCT strategy. We used a criteria-based approach to determine which HIV/AIDS stakeholders have the most significant impact on HIV/AIDS research, programs, funding and policy and stratified purposive sampling to conduct interviews with a subset of these individuals. The interview findings pointed to obstacles to strengthening linkages between family planning and HIV/AIDS, including the need for: resources to integrate family planning and HIV services, infrastructure or capacity to provide integrated services at the facility level, national leadership and coordination, and targeted advocacy to key decision-makers.
The individuals we identified as having regional or international influence in the field of HIV/AIDS have the ability to leverage an increasingly conducive funding environment and a growing evidence base to address the policy, programmatic and operational challenges to integrating family planning with HIV/AIDS. Fostering greater support for implementing contraception for HIV prevention will require the dedication, collaboration and coordination of many such actors. Our findings can inform a targeted advocacy campaign.
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 in the future. Integrating sexual and reproductive health care into HIV services has 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 and 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 and how best to address the need for safer conception services.
HIV infection; HIV-positive women and men; fertility; parenting; reproductive policy and services; contraception
Sexual behavior of HIV-positive youths, whether infected perinatally, through risky behavior or other ways, is not substantially different from that of HIV-uninfected peers. Because of highly active antiretroviral therapy, increasing number of children, infected perinatally, are surviving into adolescence and are becoming sexually active and need reproductive health services. The objective of this article is to review the methods of contraception appropriate for HIV-positive adolescents with a special focus on hormonal contraceptives. Delaying the start of sexual life and the use of two methods thereafter, one of which is the male condom and the other a highly effective contraceptive method such as hormonal contraception or an intrauterine device, is currently the most effective option for those who desire simultaneous protection from both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Health care providers should be aware of the possible pharmacokinetic interactions between hormonal contraception and antiretrovirals. There is an urgent need for more information regarding metabolic outcomes of hormonal contraceptives, especially the effect of injectable progestins on bone metabolism, in HIV-positive adolescent girls.
Increased fertility rates in HIV-infected women receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have been attributed to improved immunological function; it is unknown to what extent the rise in pregnancy rates is due to unintended pregnancies.
Non-pregnant women ages 18–35 from four public-sector ART clinics in Johannesburg, South Africa, were enrolled into a prospective cohort and followed from August 2009–March 2011. Fertility intentions, contraception and pregnancy status were measured longitudinally at participants' routine ART clinic visits.
Of the 850 women enrolled, 822 (97%) had at least one follow-up visit and contributed 745.2 person-years (PY) at-risk for incident pregnancy. Overall, 170 pregnancies were detected in 161 women (incidence rate [IR]: 21.6/100 PY [95% confidence interval (CI): 18.5–25.2]). Of the 170 pregnancies, 105 (62%) were unplanned. Unmet need for contraception was 50% higher in women initiating ART in the past year as compared to women on ART>1 year (prevalence ratio 1.5 [95% CI: 1.1–2.0]); by two years post-ART initiation, nearly one quarter of women had at least one unplanned pregnancy. Cumulative incidence of pregnancy was equally high among recent ART initiators and ART experienced participants: 23.9% [95% CI: 16.4–34.1], 15.9% [12.0–20.8], and 21.0% [16.8–26.1] for women on ART 0–1 yr, >1 yr–2 yrs, and >2 yrs respectively (log-rank, p = 0.54). Eight hormonal contraceptive failures were detected [IR: 4.4 [95% CI: 2.2–8.9], 7/8 among women using injectable methods. Overall 47% (80/170) of pregnancies were not carried to term.
Rates of unintended pregnancies among women on ART are high, including women recently initiating ART with lower CD4 counts and higher viral loads. A substantial burden of pregnancy loss was observed. Integration of contraceptive services and counselling into ART care is necessary to reduce maternal and child health risks related to mistimed and unwanted pregnancies. Further research into injectable contraceptive failures on ART is warranted.
Countries facing high HIV prevalence often also experience high levels of fertility and low contraceptive use, suggesting high levels of unmet need for contraceptive services. In particular, the unique needs of couples with one or both partners HIV positive are largely missing from many current family planning efforts, which focus on the prevention of pregnancies in the absence of reduction of the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
This article presents an examination of contraceptive method uptake among a cohort of HIV serodiscordant and concordant positive study participants in Zambia.
Baseline contraceptive use was low; however, exposure to a video-based intervention that provided information on contraceptive methods and modeled desirable future planning behaviors dramatically increased the uptake of modern contraceptive methods.
Including information on family planning in voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services in addition to tailoring the delivery of family planning information to meet the needs and concerns of HIV-positive women or those with HIV-positive partners is an essential step in the delivery of services and prevention efforts to reduce the transmission of HIV. Family planning and HIV prevention programs should integrate counseling on dual method use, combining condoms for HIV/STI prevention with a long-acting contraceptive for added protection against unplanned pregnancy.
Contraception can reduce the dual burden of high fertility and high HIV prevalence in sub-Sahara Africa, but significant barriers remain regarding access and use. We describe factors associated with nonuse of contraception and with use of specific contraceptive methods in HIV positive and HIV negative Rwandan women. Data from 395 HIV-positive and 76 HIV-negative women who desired no pregnancy in the previous 6 months were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify clinical and demographic characteristics that predict contraceptive use. Differences in contraceptive methods used were dependent on marital/partner status, partner's knowledge of a woman's HIV status, and age. Overall, condoms, abstinence, and hormonal methods were the most used, though differences existed by HIV status. Less than 10% of women both HIV+ and HIV− used no contraception. Important differences exist between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women with regard to contraceptive method use that should be addressed by interventions seeking to improve contraceptive prevalence.
Unintended pregnancies lead to unsafe abortions, which are a leading cause of preventable maternal mortality among young women in Uganda. There is a discrepancy between the desire to prevent pregnancy and actual contraceptive use. Health care providers' perspectives on factors influencing contraceptive use and service provision to young people aged 15-24 in two rural districts in Uganda were explored.
Semi-structured questionnaires were used for face- to-face interviews with 102 providers of contraceptive service at public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit health facilities in two rural districts in Uganda. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used in the analysis of data.
Providers identified service delivery, provider-focused, structural, and client-specific factors that influence contraceptive use among young people. Contraceptive use and provision to young people were constrained by sporadic contraceptive stocks, poor service organization, and the limited number of trained personnel, high costs, and unfriendly service. Most providers were not competent enough to provide long-acting methods. There were significant differences in providers' self-rated competence by facility type; private for-profit providers' competence was limited for most contraceptives. Providers had misconceptions about contraceptives, they had negative attitudes towards the provision of contraceptives to young people, and they imposed non-evidence-based age restrictions and consent requirements. Thus, most providers were not prepared or were hesitant to give young people contraceptives. Short-acting methods were, however, considered acceptable for young married women and those with children.
Provider, client, and health system factors restricted contraceptive provision and use for young people. Their contraceptive use prospects are dependent on provider behavior and health system improvements.
Contraceptives that are readily available and acceptable are required in many poorer countries to reduce population growth and in all countries to prevent maternal morbidity and mortality arising from unintended pregnancies. Most available methods use hormonal steroids or are variations of barrier methods. Reports from several fora over the last 12 years have emphasized the number of unwanted pregnancies and resultant abortions, which indicate an unmet need for safe, acceptable, and inexpensive contraceptive methods. This unmet need can be assuaged, in part, by development of new nonhormonal contraceptive methods. This Review addresses the contribution that the “omic” revolution can make to the identification of novel contraceptive targets, as well as the progress that has been made for different target molecules under development.
Improvements in life expectancy and quality of life for HIV-positive women coupled with reduced vertical transmission will likely lead numerous HIV-positive women to consider becoming pregnant. In order to clarify the demand, and aid with appropriate health services planning for this population, our study aims to assess the fertility desires and intentions of HIV-positive women of reproductive age living in Ontario, Canada.
A cross-sectional study with recruitment stratified to match the geographic distribution of HIV-positive women of reproductive age (18–52) living in Ontario was carried out. Women were recruited from 38 sites between October 2007 and April 2009 and invited to complete a 189-item self-administered survey entitled “The HIV Pregnancy Planning Questionnaire” designed to assess fertility desires, intentions and actions. Logistic regression models were fit to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios of significant predictors of fertility intentions. The median age of the 490 participating HIV-positive women was 38 (IQR, 32–43) and 61%, 52%, 47% and 74% were born outside of Canada, living in Toronto, of African ethnicity and currently on antiretroviral therapy, respectively. Of total respondents, 69% (95% CI, 64%–73%) desired to give birth and 57% (95% CI, 53%–62%) intended to give birth in the future. In the multivariable model, the significant predictors of fertility intentions were: younger age (age<40) (p<0.0001), African ethnicity (p<0.0001), living in Toronto (p = 0.002), and a lower number of lifetime births (p = 0.02).
The proportions of HIV-positive women of reproductive age living in Ontario desiring and intending pregnancy were higher than reported in earlier North American studies. Proportions were more similar to those reported from African populations. Healthcare providers and policy makers need to consider increasing services and support for pregnancy planning for HIV-positive women. This may be particularly significant in jurisdictions with high levels of African immigration.
With the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), women living with HIV can now enjoy longer lifespans in relative good health as well as the prospect of bearing children with an overwhelmingly low risk of vertical transmission. Thus, increasingly, seropositive women are now facing issues around longevity as well as those associated with fertility. The clinician caring for the HIV-infected woman must be alert to the gynecologic issues that are prevalent in this population. Among those faced by the gynecologist are menstrual abnormalities, lower genital tract neoplasia, sexually transmitted infections, the need for gynecologic surgery, and menopausal issues including osteopenia/osteoporosis. Contraception in HIV seropositive women presents unique management issues, because of the necessity for a dual role of prevention of both pregnancy and HIV transmission, the possible effect of birth control on HIV infection, and the interaction between birth control and HIV therapies. With ever increasing frequency, the gynecologist will be presented with the seropositive woman or couple who wishes to conceive. The purpose of this chapter is to review the current knowledge on the relationship between HIV infection and menstrual abnormalities, genital neoplasias, contraceptive options, surgical complications, and menopause with its associated disorders. Special considerations in the seropositive woman contemplating pregnancy will also be discussed. The treatment of pelvic infections is discussed elsewhere in this volume, and only changes in standard therapy because of concurrent HIV-infection will be discussed here.
Although the experiences of unintended pregnancies and poor birth outcomes among adolescents aged 15–19 years in the general population are well documented, there is limited understanding of the same among those who are living with HIV. This paper examines the factors associated with experiencing unintended pregnancies, poor birth outcomes, and post-partum contraceptive use among HIV-positive female adolescents in Kenya.
Data are from a cross-sectional study that captured information on pregnancy histories of HIV-positive female adolescents in four regions of Kenya: Coast, Nairobi, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces. Study participants were identified through HIV and AIDS programs in the four regions. Out of a total of 797 female participants, 394 had ever been pregnant with 24% of them experiencing multiple pregnancies. Analysis entails the estimation of random-effects logit models.
Higher order pregnancies were just as likely to be unintended as lower order ones (odds ratios [OR]: 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.8–2.0) while pregnancies occurring within marital unions were significantly less likely to be unintended compared to those occurring outside such unions (OR: 0.1; 95% CI: 0.1–0.2). Higher order pregnancies were significantly more likely to result in poor outcomes compared to lower order ones (OR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.6–4.0). In addition, pregnancies occurring within marital unions were significantly less likely to result in poor outcomes compared to those occurring outside such unions (OR: 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1–0.9). However, experiencing unintended pregnancy was not significantly associated with adverse birth outcomes (OR: 1.3; 95% CI: 0.5–3.3). There was also no significant difference in the likelihood of post-partum contraceptive use by whether the pregnancy was unintended (OR: 0.9; 95% CI: 0.5–1.5).
The experience of repeat unintended pregnancies among HIV-positive female adolescents in the sample is partly due to inconsistent use of contraception to prevent recurrence while poor birth outcomes among higher order pregnancies are partly due to abortion. This underscores the need for HIV and AIDS programs to provide appropriate sexual and reproductive health information and services to HIV-positive adolescent clients in order to reduce the risk of undesired reproductive health outcomes.
HIV-positive female adolescents; Unintended pregnancy; Poor birth outcomes; Post-partum contraceptive use; Kenya
HIV-infected women need highly effective contraception to reduce unintended pregnancies and mother-to-child HIV transmission. Previous studies report conflicting results regarding the effect of hormonal contraception (HC) on HIV disease progression.
HIV-infected women in Uganda and Zimbabwe were recruited immediately after seroconversion; CD4 testing and clinical exams were conducted quarterly. The study endpoint was time to AIDS (two successive CD4 ≤200 cells/mm3 or WHO advanced stage 3 or stage 4 disease). We used marginal structural Cox survival models to estimate the effect of cumulative exposure to depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and oral contraceptives (OC) on time to AIDS.
303 HIV-infected women contributed 1,408 person-years (py). 111 women (37%) developed AIDS. Cumulative probability of AIDS was 50% at 7 years and did not vary by country. AIDS incidence was 6.6, 9.3 and 8.8 per 100py for DMPA, OC and non-hormonal users. Neither DMPA (adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) = 0.90; 95% CI 0.76-1.08) nor OCs (AHR =1.07; 95% CI 0.89-1.29) were associated with HIV disease progression. Alternative exposure definitions of HC use during the year prior to AIDS or at time of HIV infection produced similar results. STI symptoms were associated with faster progression while young age at HIV infection (18-24 years) was associated with slower progression. Adding baseline CD4 level and setpoint viral load to models did not change the HC results but subtype D infection became associated with disease progression.
Hormonal contraceptive use was not associated with more rapid HIV disease progression but older age, STI symptoms and subtype D infection were.
HIV; disease progression; hormonal contraception; family planning; women
Some people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) want to have children while others want to prevent pregnancies; this calls for comprehensive services to address both needs. This study explored decisions to have or not to have children and contraceptive preferences among PLHIV at two clinics in Uganda.
This was a qualitative cross-sectional study. We conducted seventeen focus group discussions and 14 in-depth interviews with sexually active adult men and women and adolescent girls and boys, and eight key informant interviews with providers. Overall, 106 individuals participated in the interviews; including 84 clients through focus group discussions. Qualitative latent content analysis technique was used, guided by key study questions and objectives. A coding system was developed before the transcripts were examined. Codes were grouped into categories and then themes and subthemes further identified.
In terms of contraceptive preferences, clients had a wide range of preferences; whereas some did not like condoms, pills and injectables, others preferred these methods. Fears of complications were raised mainly about pills and injectables while cost of the methods was a major issue for the injectables, implants and intrauterine devices. Other than HIV sero-discordance and ill health (which was cited as transient), the decision to have children or not was largely influenced by socio-cultural factors. All adult men, women and adolescents noted the need to have children, preferably more than one. The major reasons for wanting more children for those who already had some were; the sex of the children (wanting to have both girls and boys and especially boys), desire for large families, pressure from family, and getting new partners. Providers were supportive of the decision to have children, especially for those who did not have any child at all, but some clients cited negative experiences with providers and information gaps for those who wanted to have children.
These findings show the need to expand family planning services for PLHIV to provide more contraceptive options and information as well as expand support for those who want to have children.
Family planning; Fertility; HIV; Contraception
Whether contraceptive counseling improves contraceptive use is unknown.
To evaluate the association between contraceptive counseling provided by primary care physicians and patients’ contraceptive use.
All women aged 18–50 who visited one of four primary care clinics between October 2008 and April 2010 were invited to complete surveys about their visit. Seven to 30 days post visit, participants completed a survey assessing pregnancy intentions, receipt of contraceptive counseling, and use of contraception at last sexual intercourse. Survey data were linked to medical record data regarding contraceptive prescriptions prior to and during the clinic visit. Women were classified as in need of contraceptive counseling if they were sexually active, were not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and had no evidence of contraceptive use prior to their index clinic visit.
Fifty percent (n = 386) of women were in need of contraceptive counseling at the time of their visit. Those who received contraceptive counseling from a primary care provider were more likely to report use of hormonal contraception when they last had sex (unadjusted OR: 3.83, CI: 2.25–6.52), even after adjusting for age, race, education, income, marital status, pregnancy intentions, and prior pregnancy (adjusted OR: 2.68, CI: 1.48–4.87). Counseling regarding specific types of contraception was associated with an increased use of those methods. For example, counseling regarding hormonal contraceptives was associated with a greater likelihood of use of hormonal methods (adjusted OR: 4.78, CI: 2.51–9.12) and counseling regarding highly effective reversible methods was highly associated with use of those methods (adjusted OR: 18.45, CI: 4.88–69.84). These same relationships were observed for women with prior evidence of contraceptive use.
Contraceptive counseling in primary care settings is associated with increased hormonal contraceptive use at last intercourse. Increasing provision of contraceptive counseling in primary care may reduce unintended pregnancy.
contraceptive counseling; contraception; primary care; women’s health
Biomedical HIV prevention trials enroll sexually active women at risk of HIV and often discontinue study product during pregnancy. We assessed risk factors for pregnancy and HIV acquisition, and the effect of pregnancy on time off study drug in HPTN 039.
1358 HIV negative, HSV-2 seropositive women from South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe were enrolled and followed for up to 18 months.
228 pregnancies occurred; time off study drug due to pregnancy accounted for 4% of woman-years of follow-up among women. Being pregnant was not associated with increased HIV risk (hazard ratio [HR] 0.64 95% CI [0.23, 1.80], p=0.40). However, younger age was associated with increased risk for both pregnancy and HIV. There was no association between condom use as a sole contraceptive and reduced pregnancy incidence; hormonal contraception was not associated with increased HIV risk. Bacterial vaginosis at study entry was associated with increased HIV risk (HR 2.03, p=0.02).
Pregnancy resulted in only a small amount of woman-time off study drug. Young women are at high risk for HIV and are an appropriate population for HIV prevention trials but also have higher risk of pregnancy. Condom use was not associated with reduced incidence of pregnancy.
HIV prevention; prevention trials; pregnancy; contraception; Africa; HSV-2; HIV risk factors
To examine determinants of contraceptive use, desired future childbearing, and sterilization regret among HIV-positive women.
118 HIV-positive women, age 18-46, receiving care at a University HIV Clinic completed a survey on their reproductive history in 2004. We reviewed their medical records for contraception, antiretroviral medications and HIV/AIDS disease markers. We performed descriptive analysis of population characteristics and logistic regression to assess predictors of their desire to have future children.
Subjects had a median age of 37, had been diagnosed with HIV for a mean of 9.2 years and 55% had AIDS. Most (68%) subjects were currently monogamous and 29% were abstinent. Forty-seven percent had been sterilized and of those who were sexually active but not sterilized, 90% were using reversible contraception. One-third of subjects desired future childbearing, including 12% of those who had been previously sterilized. In a multivariate analysis, predictors of desire for future childbearing were: younger age, not being on HIV medication, higher current CD4 cell count and having a relationship duration of less than 2 years.
HIV-positive women have reproductive patterns similar to HIV-negative women, with most having borne children and many wanting children in the future. A substantial proportion has been sterilized and express sterilization regret. Potent antiretroviral therapy has greatly improved the outlook for HIV-infected women, even those with an AIDS diagnosis. Many HIV-positive women want to have children and would benefit from preconception counseling and counseling about reversible methods of contraception.
Contraception; HIV; AIDS; Anti-retroviral; Tubal ligation
In 2010, two global networks of people living with HIV, the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW Global) and the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP + ) were invited to review a draft strategic framework for the global scale up of prevention of vertical transmission (PVT) through the primary prevention of HIV and the prevention of unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV. In order to ensure recommendations were based on expressed needs of people living with HIV, GNP+ and ICW Global undertook a consultation amongst people living with HIV which highlighted both facilitators and barriers to prevention services. This commentary summarizes the results of that consultation.
The consultation was comprised of an online consultation (moderated chat-forum with 36 participants from 16 countries), an anonymous online e-survey (601 respondents from 58 countries), and focus-group discussions with people living with HIV in Jamaica (27 participants). The consultation highlighted the discrepancies across regions with respect to access to essential packages of PVT services. However, the consultation participants also identified common barriers to access, including a lack of trustworthy sources of information, service providers’ attitudes, and gender-based violence. In addition, participant responses revealed common facilitators of access, including quality counselling on reproductive choices, male involvement, and decentralized services.
The consultation provided some understanding and insight into the participants’ experiences with and recommendations for PVT strategies. Participants agreed that successful, comprehensive PVT programming require greater efforts to both prevent primary HIV infection among young women and girls and, in particular, targeted efforts to ensure that women living with HIV and their partners are supported to avoid unintended pregnancies and to have safe, healthy pregnancies instead. In addition to providing the insights into prevention services discussed above, the consultation served as a valuable example of the meaningful involvement of people living with HIV in programming and implementation to ensure that programs are tailored to individuals’ needs and to circumvent rights abuses within those settings.
women living with HIV; people living with HIV; primary prevention; unintended pregnancies; sexual and reproductive health and rights; prevention of vertical transmission
Prenatal and postnatal polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) exposure has been associated with decrements in fetal and infant growth and development, although exposures during the preconception window have not been examined despite recent evidence suggesting that this window may correspond with the highest serum concentrations.
We assessed maternal serum PCB concentrations at two sensitive developmental windows in relation to birth weight.
Serum samples were collected from 99 women as they began trying to become pregnant (preconception) and after a positive pregnancy test (prenatal); 52 (53%) women gave birth and represent the study cohort. Using daily diaries, women recorded sexual intercourse, menstruation, and home pregnancy test results until pregnant or up to 12 menstrual cycles with intercourse during the estimated fertile window. With gas chromatography with electron capture, 76 PCB congeners were quantified (nanograms per gram serum) and subsequently categorized by purported biologic activity. Serum PCBs were log-transformed and entered both as continuous and categorized exposures along with birth weight (grams) and covariates [smoking (yes/no), height (inches), and infant sex (male/female)] into linear regression.
A substantial reduction in birth weight (grams) was observed for women in the highest versus the lowest tertile of preconception antiestrogenic PCB concentration (β = −429.3 g, p = 0.038) even after adjusting for covariates (β = −470.8, p = 0.04).
These data reflect the potential developmental toxicity of antiestrogenic PCBs, particularly during the sensitive preconception critical window among women with environmentally relevant chemical exposures, and underscore the importance of PCB congener–specific investigation.
birth weight; developmental toxicant; early origins of disease; endocrine disruptors; polychlorinated biphenyls; preconception
in sub-Saharan Africa are at substantial risk of
unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted
infections (STIs). Linkages between HIV and
reproductive health services are advocated. We
describe implementation of a reproductive health
counseling intervention in 16 HIV clinics in
Lusaka, Zambia. Between November 2009 and
November 2010, 18,407 women on antiretroviral
treatment (ART) were counseled. The median age
was 34.6 years (interquartile range (IQR):
29.9–39.7), and 60.1% of women were
married. The median CD4+ cell count
was 394 cells/uL (IQR: 256–558). Of
the women counseled, 10,904 (59.2%) reported
current modern contraceptive use. Among
contraceptive users, only 17.7% reported
dual method use. After counseling, 737 of 7,503
women not previously using modern contraception
desired family planning referrals, and 61.6%
of these women successfully accessed services
within 90 days. Unmet contraceptive need remains
high among HIV-infected women. Additional
efforts are needed to promote reproductive
health, particularly dual method
Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent unintended pregnancy. However, many women continue to lack information needed to use EC effectively and clinician time to counsel women about EC is limited.
To evaluate whether computer-assisted provision of EC can increase knowledge and use of EC among women able to access EC without a prescription.
We conducted a randomized controlled trial in which the intervention group received a 15-minute computerized educational session and 1 pack of EC. The control group received education about periconception folate supplementation, but no information about EC. Participants were contacted 7 months after enrollment.
Four hundred forty-six women recruited from 2 urgent care clinics in San Francisco in 2005.
Knowledge of EC, use of EC, and self-reported pregnancy.
At follow-up, women in the intervention group answered an average of 2 more questions about EC correctly than they had at baseline, whereas women in the control group answered only 1 more item correctly (2.0 vs 1.2, p < .001). There was a trend toward more use of EC during the study period in the intervention group (10% vs 4% of women followed, p = .06; 6% vs 3%, p = .09 of women enrolled). Fewer women in the intervention group were pregnant at the time of follow-up (0.8% vs 6.5%, p = .01 of women followed; 0.5% vs 4.0%, p = .01 of women enrolled).
Computer-assisted provision of EC in urgent care waiting areas increased knowledge of EC in a state where EC had been available without a prescription for 3 years.
women’s health; computerized counseling; contraception; emergency contraception