Fertility and reproductive choice in women with HIV-1 infection

Sarah V. Thackway, Virginia Furner, Anne Mijch, David A. Cooper, David Holland, Patricia Martinez, David Shaw, Ingrid Van Beek, Edwina Wright, Kate Clezy, John M. Kaldor

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To measure fertility and birth rates and to describe the reproductive histories of women diagnosed with HIV-1 infection in Australia. Methods: The medical records of 294 women with HIV-1 infection in four states of Australia were reviewed. Expected fertility and birth rates were calculated using national statistics. Results: In the study population, 152 (52%) women had at least one pregnancy prior or subsequent to HIV-1 diagnosis. At maternal HIV-1 diagnosis, 71 (24%) women had a total of 106 children aged under 15 years. During the study period, 246 women were aged 15-44 years and 58 (23%) of these became pregnant after HIV-1 diagnosis. Women whose exposure to HIV-1 was injecting drug use were twice as likely to become pregnant and more likely to have multiple pregnancies than women who did not report injecting drug use. The annual general fertility rate was 30 per 10 000 compared with 63 per 10,000 for the Australian female population (aged 15-44 years), and the birth rate in women with HIV-1 infection was one-half that of the general female population. Of pregnancies confirmed after HIV-1 diagnosis, 47% were voluntarily terminated, a rate more than double that of the general population. All multiple terminations were among women whose exposure to HIV-1 was injecting drug use. Conclusions: Fertility and birth rates among women with HIV-1 infection are lower than the general population and the rate of termination higher. The results of this study provide a basis for the management of women with HIV-1 infection who are considering pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-667
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Fertility rates
  • HIV
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive histories
  • Terminations
  • Women

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