Fertility Desires and Intentions among People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Southern India

J Clin Diagn Res. 2016 Jun;10(6):OC19-22. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2016/20282.7968. Epub 2016 Jun 1.


Introduction: The desire of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to have children can have significant public health implications. Combination Antiretroviral Therapy (cART) has increased the life expectancy of PLWHA as a result of which they may consider child bearing. There are hardly any studies from India addressing the fertility desires among PLWHA.

Aim: This study was done to assess the fertility desires of PLWHA in Southern India.

Materials and methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted among 230 HIV-positive men and women who presented to Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore, India. Study was conducted between October 2012 and October 2014. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS software version 11.5. Chi-square test, Fisher's exact test and student t-test was used to find out the association of various factors affecting fertility desire. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: The mean age of our study population was 36.3±5.5 years. The mean age of males was 37.3±6 years and for female 34.9±5 years. In our study 132 (57.4%) were males. Majority were literate 229 (99%). Majority of patients were employed 166 (72%). In our study 195 (84.7%) were on cART. Out of 230 PLWHA 39 (16.95%) were unmarried and 151(65.5%) married PLHIV were living with partners at the time of study. In our study 77 (33.5%) patients had fertility desire. Age, gender, marital status, number of children, partner's fertility desire and HIV status of partner had an association with fertility desire.

Conclusion: Providing universal access to cART is the main aim of national programs. It is high time that these programs focus on fertility issues of PLWHA. Reproductive rights of PLWHA need to be respected. Physicians and HIV counselors should proactively discuss and address reproductive issues of PLWHA.

Keywords: Children; Combination Antiretroviral Therapy; Reproduction.