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Qual Health Res. 2016 Sep;26(11):1508-18. doi: 10.1177/1049732315596150. Epub 2015 Jul 29.

Social Stigma and Childbearing for Women Living With HIV/AIDS.

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University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.


As more women become infected with HIV, the issue of childbearing becomes increasingly salient. A more nuanced understanding of women's situations is needed to provide high-quality and relevant services and support. We examined reproductive decision making among 20 women living with HIV through in-depth interviews. These women made decisions within situations of chaos, instability, and trauma, which often limited their ability to make truly informed choices about their lives and childbearing. Despite their HIV, many of the women wanted children, but experienced stigmatization related both to their HIV and to their decisions to have children. This stigmatization came from multiple sources, including health care providers, some of whom encouraged their patients to abort pregnancies because of their HIV. Participants, however, demonstrated resistance to stigmatization, through building supportive communities and developing trusting relationships with HIV providers. These results support the need for specialized HIV care for women of childbearing age.


HIV/AIDS; USA; interviews; marginalized populations; pregnancy; qualitative; reproduction; stigma; trauma; women’s health

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