Influences in fertility decisions among HIV-infected individuals in Lilongwe, Malawi: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Background

The motivation to have a child may be complex with numerous influencing factors, particularly among individuals living with HIV. This study sought to understand factors influencing fertility decision-making for HIV-infected men and women in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Methods

Thirteen focus groups were conducted among HIV-infected individuals enrolled in antiretroviral treatment services.

Results

Participants identified a hierarchy of influences in fertility decisions including the importance of childbearing, patriarchal influence, family influences and concern regarding HIV transmission.

Conclusions

Addressing fertility conversations beyond the confines of a relationship may be important, as family plays a significant role in fertility choices. Childbearing remains a fundamental desire among many individuals with HIV; however, concerns regarding transmission risk need to be addressed with efforts made to overcome misconception and assist individuals in balancing what may be competing influences.

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