Chapter 32: Positive women managing reproduction in the HIV pandemic
Very little has been written about the subjective experiences of pregnancy and childbirth among HIV positive women. In the early years of the pandemic it was assumed that very few of these women would want or be able to have children. However the rapid spread of heterosexually transmitted HIV infection in low- and middle-income countries alongside the increasing availability of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) changed the situation dramatically. Research then began on the implications of HIV for pregnancy and childbirth, but the focus was mainly on the protection of the foetus, with the needs and experiences of the women themselves receiving little attention. This chapter begins to fill that gap through a review of the biological, psychological and social challenges faced by HIV positive women in the context of reproductive decision-making and the complex processes of pregnancy and childbirth.
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