BACKGROUND: There is limited understanding of health care providers' attitudes towards HIV-infected individuals' reproductive choices, as well as knowledge about safer conception. Our study objective was to explore provider-level factors that serve as barriers and/or facilitators to the provision of reproductive and safer conception services for men and women living with HIV.
METHODS: Twenty-five providers were interviewed in four focus group discussions about their attitudes regarding childbearing by HIV-infected clients, reproductive health and HIV knowledge, and views and knowledge of safer conception.
RESULTS: Providers reported ambivalence about supporting childbearing among their clients with HIV. They raised concerns about HIV-infected individuals having children, and in certain cases expressed judgment that people with HIV should not have children because of these concerns. Providers lack specific knowledge about safer conception strategies and have low level of knowledge of reproductive health, the efficacy of PMTCT, and the risks of pregnancy for HIV-infected women.
CONCLUSIONS: Providers in our setting have complex attitudes about HIV-infected clients having children and lack knowledge to appropriately counsel clients about reproductive health and safer conception. Our findings highlight need for further research in this area as well as the need for provider training in reproductive health and safer conception.
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