We conducted a systematic review of safer conception strategies (SCS) for HIV-affected couples in sub-Saharan Africa to inform evidence-based safer conception interventions. Following PRISMA guidelines, we searched fifteen electronic databases using the following inclusion criteria: SCS research in HIV-affected couples; published after 2007; in sub-Saharan Africa; primary research; peer-reviewed; and addressed a primary topic of interest (SCS availability, feasibility, and acceptability, and/or education and promotion). Researchers independently reviewed each study for eligibility using a standardized tool. We categorize studies by their topic area. We identified 41 studies (26 qualitative and 15 quantitative) that met inclusion criteria. Reviewed SCSs included: antiretroviral therapy (ART), pre-exposure prophylaxis, timed unprotected intercourse, manual/self-insemination, sperm washing, and voluntary male medical circumcision (VMMC). SCS were largely unavailable outside of research settings, except for general availability (i.e., not specifically for safer conception) of ART and VMMC. SCS acceptability was impacted by low client and provider knowledge about safer conception services, stigma around HIV-affected couples wanting children, and difficulty with HIV disclosure in HIV-affected couples. Couples expressed desire to learn more about SCS; however, provider training, patient education, SCS promotions, and integration of reproductive health and HIV services remain limited. Studies of provider training and couple-based education showed improvements in communication around fertility intentions and SCS knowledge. SCS are not yet widely available to HIV-affected African couples. Successful implementation of SCS requires that providers receive training on effective SCS and provide couple-based safer conception counseling to improve disclosure and communication around fertility intentions and reproductive health.
AIDS and Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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