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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2010 May;24(5):317-23. doi: 10.1089/apc.2009.0293.

Do HIV-infected women want to discuss reproductive plans with providers, and are those conversations occurring?

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Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The purpose of the study is to assess frequency and determinants of discussions between HIV-infected women and their HIV providers about childbearing plans, and to identify unmet need for reproductive counseling. We conducted a cross-sectional, audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) among 181 predominately African American HIV-infected women of reproductive age receiving HIV clinical care in two urban health clinics. We used descriptive statistics to identify unmet need for reproductive counseling by determining the proportion of women who want to, but have not, discussed future reproductive plans with their primary HIV care provider. Multivariate analysis determined which factors were associated with general and personalized discussions about pregnancy. Of the 181 women interviewed, 67% reported a general discussion about pregnancy and HIV while 31% reported a personalized discussion about future childbearing plans with their provider. Of the personalized discussions, 64% were patient initiated. Unmet reproductive counseling needs were higher for personalized discussions about future pregnancies (56%) than general discussions about HIV and pregnancy (23%). Younger age was the most powerful determinant of provider communication about pregnancy. A significant proportion of HIV-infected women want to talk about reproductive plans with their HIV provider; however, many have not. HIV care providers and gynecologists can address this unmet communication need by discussing reproductive plans with all women of childbearing age so that preconception counseling can be provided when appropriate. Providers will miss opportunities to help women safely plan pregnancy if they only discuss reproductive plans with younger patients.

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