Factors Influencing Fertility Choices Among HIV Infected Mothers in Uasin Gishu District, Kenya
Kenya has borne the major brunt of HIV/AIDS for close to two decades. The problem being exacerbated among childbearing mothers as the probability of giving birth to HIV infected baby is heightened. Availability of safe and effective contraceptive and high quality reproductive health counseling can help a woman practice safer sex and determine her future childbearing on a more responsible and informed basis. Therefore, a study to determine how knowledge on contraceptives influenced fertility choices was conducted in Uasin Gishu district Rift valley province in Kenya from September 2005 to December 2005. Data was collected by systematic random sampling from 400 HIV infected mothers in their reproductive age. Interview schedules were administered to the respondents at three sites. Data was analyzed by descriptive statistics. Knowledge on contraceptive was almost universal among the respondents with 99.0% of the respondents being aware of at least one method that women could use to avoid pregnancy. Majority (41.6%) knew at least three methods of family planning followed by 30.4% who knew at least four methods while few respondents (3.5%) knew more than six methods of family planning. Desire for additional children was found to increase markedly with the number of methods that respondents were knowledgeable about; none of the respondents who were knowledgeable about one method desired to get any more additional children whereas 30.5% of those who knew at least three methods desired to get additional children. However, desire for additional births reduced drastically among those who knew more than four family planning methods with none of those who knew six methods desiring to get additional children. It is seen from the study that it is only with adequate knowledge regarding family planning that one is able to adopt better family planning practices. It is thus recommended that reproductive health counseling be improved among the HIV infected mother.