Controlling Fertility and Managing HIV: Complexities of Disclosure for Young Women Living with HIV in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe

Sophia A. Zamudio-Haas, University of California, Berkeley
Imelda Mudekunye-Mahaka, University of Zimbabwe
Barrot H. Lambdin, Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation
Megan S. Dunbar, Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation

For young women living with HIV in Zimbabwe, controlling fertility is a key strategy to manage health and prevent onward transmission. In a culture that highly regards childbearing, disclosure of status is critical step to garner support for pregnancy prevention. This paper explores how young women living with HIV in Chitungwiza negotiate disclosure with male partners in the context of achieving desired fertility. Nested within the on-going SHAZ!-PLUS intervention trial, this study employed in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of 28 young women (ages 16-20) to gain understanding around the role disclosure plays in pregnancy prevention. Findings suggest that disclosure is the crux of fertility control; an issue complicated by high prevalence of adverse reactions, ranging from anger to abuse and/or abandonment. Current practice fails to help young women navigate these risks, highlighting the need for programs that ease the difficulties of disclosure and bolster the reproductive rights of young women.

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Presented in Session 155: Emerging Patterns in Contraceptive Use in Africa