Maldonado Epi Group  

Zimbabwe HIV/Family Planning Project

Background

The potential to limit new paediatric HIV infections by improving access to acceptable and effective methods of family planning is immense. There is significant evidence that women, both HIV-infected and not, in sub-Saharan Africa desire to limit total fertility and close birth-spacing. Family planning access is additionally associated with improving women's (and family's) health and economic opportunities. Finally, helping HIV-infected pregnant women plan and space pregnancies also improves health outcomes for both mothers and infants, as women with uncontrolled HIV disease, and their neonates, have higher mortality and morbidity than those with well-controlled disease. Thus, there is an international call to integrate family planning into Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services in order to help women plan and space their pregnancies. However, there are very limited studies of integration projects that have been implemented and evaluated in the field, and the varying needs of different groups of HIV-infected women (for example with varying socioeconomic status), are poorly understood. We hope to address these deficiencies in current knowledge.

Objectives

The primary objective of this study is to understand the feasibility of and barriers to implementing a novel intervention to improve family planning counselling and access in antenatal and post-partum care in order to support the goal of preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

This intervention will have two complimentary pieces: (1) group-based sessions aimed at increasing condom and other contraceptive use intentions and sexual negotiation power, and (2) promotion of long-term family planning options as highly-effective forms of contraception.

We hypothesize that integration of enhanced family planning sessions and a routine offer of long-term family planning into existing PMTCT will improve contraceptive use among HIV-infected women. Allowing pregnancy planning and spacing promotes maternal HIV status optimization by allowing immunologic recovery and virologic suppression prior to additional pregnancies. Since improved maternal HIV status improves infant outcomes, and contraception is another method of PMTCT, this project strongly supports the PMTCT goals. This feasibility study will provide data to support a larger grant to consider the longitudinal impact of family planning/PMTCT integration.

Location

Seke North, St. Mary's, Seke South and Zengeza Clinics in Chitungwiza

Duration

September 2011 February 2012

Participants

100 HIV-positive pregnant women

Collaborating Agencies

Results

Pending

Latest News

Stanford School of Medicine article, "Birth control counseling may reduce AIDS transmission in Africa, say researchers" (July 25, 2012)


More Information

For more information about the Zimbabwe HIV/Family Planning Study, please contact Clea Sarnquist [cleas].

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