Attitudes toward childbearing and changes in sexual and contraceptive practices among HIV-infected women

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Women now constitute 12% of persons with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and three quarters of them are well within their childbearing age.


To determine if women infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) change their attitudes toward child-bearing and their sexual and contraceptive practices.


Questionnaire and interview.


Forty-six women age 18 to 44 participated; 33 were white, 12 were Hispanic, and 1 was black. Intravenous drug abuse was reported by 65%. Nineteen had symptomatic HIV disease or AIDS. Only 70% said they had received counseling after testing. Of these, 59% said they were counseled on avoiding pregnancy, and 81% said they were counseled on use of condoms. Before testing, 59% had wanted to have children; after testing, only 17% did. Only 4% said they had always used condoms before testing, but 54% said they did after testing; 39% said they used some form of birth control before testing compared with 70% who said they did after testing.


Counseling was not optimal. Sexual and contraceptive practices changed, but follow-up study will be needed to see if such changes are sustained.



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