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Hopkins Report: Focusing on Family Planning Lessens HIV Impact
Date:9/22/2007

BALTIMORE, Sept. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Current family planning use prevents over one million HIV-positive births worldwide each year and has great potential to further reduce the number of infants born with HIV, according to the latest issue of Population Reports, "Family Planning Choices for Women With HIV," published by the INFO Project at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Communication Programs.

Women account for nearly half of the estimated 40 million people living with HIV worldwide. The majority of these women are in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are three infected women for every two infected men. An estimated one-fourth of pregnancies in sub-Saharan Africa are unintended.

In sub-Saharan Africa, family planning currently prevents an estimated 190,000 unintended HIV-infected births each year, or more than 515 HIV- infected births per day. An additional 120,000 HIV-positive births could be averted per year if all unintended pregnancies among women with HIV were prevented. These new estimates of family planning's contribution to reducing HIV were prepared by Family Health International for this issue of Population Reports.

Preventing unintended pregnancies in women with HIV is one of the most cost-effective strategies to prevent new HIV infections, according to the report. In some African countries money spent on avoiding unintended pregnancies would prevent more HIV-positive births than spending the same amount on antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis for HIV-positive women giving birth. By extension, preventing unintended pregnancies also will reduce the number of abortions and the number of children orphaned by AIDS.

To prevent pregnancy, women with HIV can safely use most contraceptive methods, with just a few exceptions. Even women using ARV therapy can choose any method available. Fears about the IUD have proved too broad. According to the latest guidance from the World Health Organization, any
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SOURCE Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Centerfor
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