Reproductive choice for women and men living with HIV: contraception, abortion and fertility

Reprod Health Matters. 2007 May;15(29 Suppl):46-66. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(07)29031-7.


From a policy and programmatic point of view, this paper reviews the literature on the fertility-related needs of women and men living with HIV and how the entry points represented by family planning, sexually transmitted infection and HIV-related services can ensure access to contraception, abortion and fertility services for women and men living with HIV. Most contraceptive methods are safe and effective for HIV positive women and men. The existing range of contraceptive options should be available to people living with HIV, along with more information about and access to emergency contraception. Potential drug interaction must be considered between hormonal contraception and treatment for tuberculosis and certain antiretroviral drugs. Couples living with HIV who wish to use a permanent contraceptive method should have access to female sterilisation and vasectomy in an informed manner, free of coercion. How to promote condoms and dual protection and how to make them acceptable in long term-relationships remains a challenge. Both surgical and medical abortion are safe for women living with HIV. To reduce risk of vertical transmission of HIV and in cases of infertility, people with HIV should have access to sperm washing and other assisted conception methods, if these are available. Simple and cost-effective procedures to reduce risk of vertical transmission should be part of counselling for women and men living with HIV who intend to have children. Support for the reproductive rights of people with HIV is a priority. More operations research on best practices is needed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Family Planning Services / supply & distribution
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parturition
  • Reproductive Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Reproductive Health Services / supply & distribution
  • Reproductive Rights


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents