Women of reproductive age account for nearly half of all HIV-infected people worldwide. Childbearing intention among HIV-infected women is complicated by social and reproductive concerns related to their HIV status. We conducted a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected sexually active South African women aged 17 to 21 in order to compare their childbearing intentions and to identify predictors of the desire to have children among women with HIV. We found the rate of childbearing intention to be similarly high among both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected study participants (80 and 79% respectively, p=0.81). History of previous parity was found to be associated with decreased intention to have children. No difference in childbearing intention was found between HIV-infected women on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and women not on ART. High rates of childbearing intention among HIV-infected women require integration of reproductive health services with comprehensive HIV/AIDS care in order to mitigate the risks of sexual and vertical transmission of HIV.
Key words: HIV, childbearing intention, South Africa, anti-retroviral therapy.
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