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PLoS One. 2018 May 17;13(5):e0197216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197216. eCollection 2018.

Unplanned pregnancies and contraceptive use among HIV- positive women in care.

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Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Centers for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States of America.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, United States of America.
ICF, Atlanta, GA, United States of America.


Among 230,360 women with diagnosed HIV in the United States (U.S.), ~ 8,500 give birth annually, and unplanned pregnancies (as with HIV-negative women) are prevalent. However, unplanned pregnancies and contraceptive use among HIV-positive women have been understudied. To examine unplanned pregnancies and contraceptive use among HIV-positive women, we used 2013-2014 data from the Medical Monitoring Project (MMP), an HIV surveillance system that produces national estimates for HIV-positive adults in care in the U.S. (Pregnancy outcome dates were from years 1986-2015 for this cohort of women who were interviewed during 2013-2014; median year of reported pregnancy outcome was year 2003). Women in HIV care and diagnosed with HIV before age 45 (reproductive age) were included. We calculated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) of unplanned pregnancies with 95% confidence intervals (CI). For women who were aged 18-44 years at time of interview, we computed weighted prevalences of contraceptive use (previous 12 months) by method, including permanent (i.e., sterilization), short-acting (i.e., pills, depo-progesterone acetate (DMPA)), long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) (i.e., implants), and barriers (i.e., condoms). Six hundred seventy-one women met criteria for the unplanned pregnancy analysis; median age at HIV diagnosis = 24.6 years, and 78.1% (CI:74.5-81.7) reported ≥ 1 unplanned pregnancy. Women reporting unplanned pregnancies were more likely to be non-Hispanic white (aPR = 1.20; CI 1.05-1.38) or non-Hispanic black (aPR = 1.14; CI 1.01-1.28) than Hispanic, to be above the poverty level (aPR = 1.09; CI 1.01-1.18), and to have not received care from an OB/GYN in the year before interview (aPR = 1.13; CI 1.04-1.22). Among 1,142 total pregnancies, 795 (69.6%) were live births; 70 (7.8%) were born HIV-positive; 42 (60%) of those born HIV-positive were unplanned pregnancies. For the contraceptives analysis (n = 957 women who were aged 18-44 at time of interview), 90.5% reported using at least one contraceptive, including 59.7% reporting barrier methods, 29.9% reporting permanent sterilization, and 22.8% reporting short-term methods in the previous year. LARC was used by only 5.3% of women. Women who reported use of LARC or DMPA were more likely to be aged 18-29 years (aPR = 3.08; CI 1.61-5.89) or 30-39 years (aPR = 2.86; CI 1.76-4.63) compared with women aged 40-44 years. Unplanned pregnancies were prevalent and LARC use was low; prevention efforts should strengthen pregnancy planning and contraceptive awareness for HIV-positive women during clinical visits.

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