Open Access Open Badges Research article

Fertility and contraceptive decision-making and support for HIV infected individuals: client and provider experiences and perceptions at two HIV clinics in Uganda

Rhoda K Wanyenze1*, Glenn J Wagner2, Nazarius M Tumwesigye1, Maria Nannyonga3, Fred Wabwire-Mangen1 and Moses R Kamya4

Author Affiliations

1 Makerere University School of Public Health, Kampala, Uganda

2 RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA

3 Nsambya Home Care HIV Clinic, Kampala, Uganda

4 Makerere University School of Medicine, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-98

Published: 2 February 2013



Some people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) want to have children while others want to prevent pregnancies; this calls for comprehensive services to address both needs. This study explored decisions to have or not to have children and contraceptive preferences among PLHIV at two clinics in Uganda.


This was a qualitative cross-sectional study. We conducted seventeen focus group discussions and 14 in-depth interviews with sexually active adult men and women and adolescent girls and boys, and eight key informant interviews with providers. Overall, 106 individuals participated in the interviews; including 84 clients through focus group discussions. Qualitative latent content analysis technique was used, guided by key study questions and objectives. A coding system was developed before the transcripts were examined. Codes were grouped into categories and then themes and subthemes further identified.


In terms of contraceptive preferences, clients had a wide range of preferences; whereas some did not like condoms, pills and injectables, others preferred these methods. Fears of complications were raised mainly about pills and injectables while cost of the methods was a major issue for the injectables, implants and intrauterine devices. Other than HIV sero-discordance and ill health (which was cited as transient), the decision to have children or not was largely influenced by socio-cultural factors. All adult men, women and adolescents noted the need to have children, preferably more than one. The major reasons for wanting more children for those who already had some were; the sex of the children (wanting to have both girls and boys and especially boys), desire for large families, pressure from family, and getting new partners. Providers were supportive of the decision to have children, especially for those who did not have any child at all, but some clients cited negative experiences with providers and information gaps for those who wanted to have children.


These findings show the need to expand family planning services for PLHIV to provide more contraceptive options and information as well as expand support for those who want to have children.

Family planning; Fertility; HIV; Contraception