Client uptake of safer conception strategies: implementation outcomes from the Sakh’umndeni Safer Conception Clinic in South Africa
HIV-infected men and women who choose to conceive risk infecting their partners. To inform safer conception programs we surveyed HIV risk behavior prior to recent pregnancy amongst South African, HIV-infected women (N = 209) and men (N = 82) recruited from antenatal and antiretroviral clinics, respectively, and reporting an uninfected or unknown-HIV-serostatus pregnancy partner. All participants knew their HIV-positive serostatus prior to the referent pregnancy. Only 11 % of women and 5 % of men had planned the pregnancy; 40 % of women and 27 % of men reported serostatus disclosure to their partner before conception. Knowledge of safer conception strategies was low. Around two-thirds reported consistent condom use, 41 % of women and 88 % of men reported antiretroviral therapy, and a third of women reported male partner circumcision prior to the referent pregnancy. Seven women (3 %) and two men (2 %) reported limiting sex without condoms to peak fertility. None reported sperm washing or manual insemination. Safer conception behaviors including HIV-serostatus disclosure, condom use, and ART at the time of conception were not associated with desired pregnancy. In light of low pregnancy planning and HIV-serostatus disclosure, interventions to improve understandings of serodiscordance and motivate mutual HIV-serostatus disclosure and pregnancy planning are necessary first steps before couples or individuals can implement specific safer conception strategies.