It became obvious that this is a disease that is manageable for women, said lead study author Shonda Craft, who completed the research while she was a doctoral candidate at Ohio State.
If a woman is 19 years old and diagnosed with HIV, she can still assume she has her whole life ahead of her. Deciding whether to have a family is part of the development process for young women, including these young women, said Craft, now an assistant professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota. This study is about living with a chronic disease, and not just the physiological piece of that, but also the psychological and sociological factors, as well.
Women in the study were asked to quantify how influential several factors were on their decision about whether or not to become pregnant after their HIV diagnosis.
Aside from external influences, age emerged as a major factor in the choice. Nearly 40 percent of women age 30 and younger chose to become pregnant while 11 percent of the women over 30 opted for pregnancy.
The most influential external factors on womens choices against pregnancy, regardless of age, were fear of transmitting HIV to a child or other concerns about preserving their own health. Conversely, a powerful personal desire to have children was associated with a womans choice to become pregnant.
Within the womens social network, medical personnel had the strongest influence on their decisions about pregnancy either for or against having a baby.
Though there are no guarantees of safely conceiving and delivering a healthy baby for women with HIV, the medical community has found ways to reduce health risks for both mother and child, said Michael Brady, professor and chair of pediatrics at Ohio State and a co-investig
|Contact: Julianne Serovich|
Ohio State University