Authors: Cornelia van Zyl & Maretha J Visser

Keyword: family planning, HIV, reproductive health, sexual health


Agenda 2063: A6

The reproductive desires of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) of low socioeconomic standing attending public health facilities in South Africa were studied. HIV-positive men, pregnant and non-pregnant women were recruited from two clinics at a large public hospital in Tshwane, South Africa. Individual interviews were used to explore the reproductive desires of HIV-positive participants. HIV counsellors’ perceptions of their clients’ reproductive desires were explored during focus group discussions. Parenthood proved to be an important factor to all participants in continuation of the family and establishing their gender identities, despite the possible risk of HIV transmission and community stigmatization. Different cultural procreation rules for men and women and stigmatizing attitudes towards PLHIV affected their reproductive decision making. Women had the dilemma of choosing which community expectations they wanted to fulfil. Community stigmatization towards PLHIV was visible in the negative attitudes of some HIV counsellors regarding HIV and procreation. Because the reproductive desires of PLHIV are currently not given high priority in HIV prevention and family planning in the public health sector in South Africa, the prevention of HIV transmission may be jeopardized. These results necessitate the integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health counselling on a primary health care level.