Fertility Intentions, Pregnancy, and Use of PrEP and ART for Safer Conception Among East African HIV Serodiscordant Couples
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African HIV serodiscordant couples often desire pregnancy, despite sexual HIV transmission risk during pregnancy attempts. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduce HIV risk and can be leveraged for safer conception but how well these strategies are used for safer conception is not known. We conducted an open-label demonstration project of the integrated delivery of PrEP and ART among 1013 HIV serodiscordant couples from Kenya and Uganda followed quarterly for 2 years. We evaluated fertility intentions, pregnancy incidence, the use of PrEP and ART during peri-conception, and peri-conception HIV incidence. At enrollment, 80% of couples indicated a desire for more children. Pregnancy incidence rates were 18.5 and 18.7 per 100 person years among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected women, and higher among women who recently reported fertility intention (adjusted odds ratio 3.43, 95% CI 2.38–4.93) in multivariable GEE models. During the 6 months preceding pregnancy, 82.9% of couples used PrEP or ART and there were no HIV seroconversions. In this cohort with high pregnancy rates, integrated PrEP and ART was readily used by HIV serodiscordant couples, including during peri-conception periods. Widespread scale-up of safer conception counseling and services is warranted to respond to strong desires for pregnancy among HIV-affected men and women.
KeywordsDiscordant couples Safer conception PrEP ART Pregnancy Africa
We thank the couples who participated in this study for their motivation and dedication and the referral partners, community advisory groups, institutions, and communities that supported this work.
Partners Demonstration Project Team
Coordinating Center (University of Washington) and collaborating investigators (Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts General Hospital) Jared Baeten (protocol chair), Connie Celum (protocol co-chair), Renee Heffron (project director), Deborah Donnell (statistician), Ruanne Barnabas, Jessica Haberer, Harald Haugen, Craig Hendrix, Lara Kidoguchi, Mark Marzinke, Susan Morrison, Jennifer Morton, Norma Ware, Monique Wyatt. Project sites Kabwohe, Uganda (Kabwohe Clinical Research Centre): Stephen Asiimwe, Edna Tindimwebwa. Kampala, Uganda (Makerere University): Elly Katabira, Nulu Bulya. Kisumu, Kenya (Kenya Medical Research Institute): Elizabeth Bukusi, Josephine Odoyo. Thika, Kenya (Kenya Medical Research Institute, University of Washington): Nelly Rwamba Mugo, Kenneth Ngure. Data Management was provided by DF/Net Research, Inc. (Seattle, WA). PrEP medication was donated by Gilead Sciences.
This work was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R00HD076679). The Partners Demonstration Project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1056051), the National Institute of Mental Health of the US National Institutes of Health (R01 MH095507) and the United States Agency for International Development (AID-OAA-A-12-00023). This work is made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID; the contents are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, NIH, or the United States Government.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of interest
All authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Washington institutional review board, national research ethics committees for each study site, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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