“Out of All of this Mess, I Got a Blessing”: Perceptions and Experiences of Reproduction and Motherhood in African American Women Living With HIV

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Abstract

HIV disproportionately impacts African American women of childbearing age residing in the southern United States. Antiretroviral therapy has increased the quantity and quality of life for people living with HIV and produced viable and safe reproduction possibilities for women living with HIV. However, little is known about reproductive decision-making processes for African American women living with HIV. The overall goal of our study was to qualitatively explore perspectives related to reproduction and motherhood in HIV-infected African American women of childbearing capacity. HIV-infected African American women of childbearing capacity in South Carolina (N = 42) participated in in-depth interviews. Our respondents held positive views about pregnancy and motherhood, despite nonsupportive pregnancy messages from interpersonal influences, including health care providers. Study findings uncovered the need for programs and interventions to support women's reproductive autonomy and focus on reducing conception- and pregnancy-related transmission risks to infants and uninfected sexual partners.

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