LONDON — Approximately 40 percent of HIV-positive adults starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the United States would like to have children in the future, a proportion that remained unchanged after two years of follow-up, investigators report in Open Forum Infectious Diseases. The findings were published in the journal AIDSmap.
There was no significant difference in the proportion of women, men who have sex with women (MSW) and men who have sex with men (MSM) who said they would like to have children. Younger people and black MSM were more likely to want to have children, AIDSmap reports.
The investigators believe their findings show the importance of regular assessment of the reproductive health and conception needs of HIV-positive patients.
“Our data showed that overall, MSM, MSW and W (women) have similar parenting desires,” the authors wrote. “Hence, all of these populations would benefit from preconception counseling, counseling about methods of contraception, and understanding how to prevent transmitting HIV to uninfected partners or to their future children.”
Investigators undertook the study because little is currently known about the parenting desires of people living with HIV. The only studies to examine this were conducted 20 or more years ago and did not include MSM. Because of ART, many HIV-positive patients have an excellent prognosis; moreover HIV is untransmissable by individuals with an undetectable viral load. In the U.S., pregnancy and live birth rates among women with HIV are close to those observed in HIV-negative women, AIDSmap reports.
Participants were recruited between 2009-2011 as part of a study of ART regimens for treatment-naïve individuals. Data were analyzed from adult men (over the age of 18) and adult women of reproductive age (18-45 years).
At baseline and after 96 weeks of therapy, participants were if they would like to have children in the future (yes/unsure/no). Men were stratified according to whether they were MSM or were exclusively straight, AIDSmap reports.
A total of 1,425 patients were recruited. Most (70 percent) were MSM, 13 percent were women and 17 percent were straight men. The median age was 36 years. Thirty-nine percent of patients were black and 36 percent were white. Two-thirds had some post-high school education and half were living on a low income (below $20,000 a year), AIDSmap reports.
At baseline, 86 percent of MSM reported having no children, with only 27 percent of both straight men and women reporting having no children.
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