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HIV+ women shy away from pregnancy
Shashwat Gupta Ray | Sunday, 16 August 2015 AT 10:13 PM IST
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Pune: Pregnancy rates tend to become significantly lower among women after they know their HIV positive status as they either shelve their conception plans due to fear of mother to child transmission or abort the baby (almost 50 per cent).

This is despite the fact that timely medical intervention can now result in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

The data was revealed in a joint study by Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, Netherlands and Prayas Health Group, Amrita Clinic, Pune.

“This is the first study to examine the behavioural effect of HIV on fertility among HIV infected women in India. Data from 560 married HIV infected women between 15 and 45 years of age, attending a specialised HIV clinic in Pune, were analysed. The pregnancy rates were statistically significantly lower after knowing about their HIV status as compared to before the HIV status was known,” Founder Trustee, Prayas and Coordinator, Prayas Health Group Dr Vinay Kulkarni told Sakal Times.

Several factors could lead to the lower pregnancy rates. “Though Highly Active Antiretroviral  Therapy (HAART) has instigated hope among HIV infected people and has contributed to reducing fear of death and uncertainty about the future, fear of transmitting HIV to the baby could still be an important factor affecting the desired family size of HIV infected couples,” Dr Kulkarni said.

Additional analysis of a sub-sample of 229 HIV infected married women in this study showed that concern about transmitting HIV infection to the child (17 per cent), fear among women that having a child might affect their health (27 per cent), and potential financial constraints due to children (18 per cent) were reported as reasons for not desiring children.

“Ensuring access to information and services regarding PMTCT of HIV and family planning services to infected couples are essential to support informed decision,” said Dr Shirish Darak, study lead author and former assistant professor with the University of Groningen, Netherlands and currently senior researcher with Prayas Health Group.


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