Unintended pregnancy and contraception use among African women living with HIV: Baseline analysis of the multi-country US PEPFAR PROMOTE cohort

for the US-PEPFAR PROMOTE Cohort Study team

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Background About 90% of unintended pregnancies are attributed to non-use of effective contraception–tubal ligation, or reversible effective contraception (REC) including injectables, oral pills, intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD), and implant. We assessed the prevalence of unintended pregnancy and factors associated with using RECs, and Long-Acting-Reversible-Contraceptives (LARCs)–implants and IUCDs, among women living with HIV (WLHIV) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Methods We conducted cross-sectional analyses of the US-PEPFAR PROMOTE study WLHIV on ART at enrollment. Separate outcome (REC and LARC) modified-Poisson regression models were used to estimate prevalence risk ratio (PRR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI). Results Of 1,987 enrolled WLHIV, 990 (49.8%) reported their last/current pregnancy was unintended; 1,027/1,254 (81.9%) non-pregnant women with a potential to become pregnant reported current use of effective contraception including 215/1,254 (17.1%) LARC users. Compared to Zimbabwe, REC rates were similar in South Africa, aPRR = 0.97 (95% CI: 0.90–1.04), p = 0.355, lower in Malawi, aPRR = 0.84 (95% CI: 0.78–0.91), p<0.001, and Uganda, 0.82 (95% CI: 0.73–0.91), p<0.001. Additionally, REC use was independently associated with education attained, primary versus higher education, aPRR = 1.10 (95% CI: 1.02–1.18), p = 0.013; marriage/stable union, aPRR = 1.10 (95% CI: 1.01–1.21), p = 0.039; no desire for another child, PRR = 1.10 (95% CI: 1.02–1.16), p = 0.016; infrequent sex (none in the last 3 months), aPRR = 1.24 (95% CI: 1.15–1.33), p<0001; and controlled HIV load (≤ 1000 copies/ml), PRR = 1.10 (95% CI: 1.02–1.19), p = 0.014. LARC use was independently associated with country (Zimbabwe ref: South Africa, PRR = 0.39 (95% CI: 0.26–0.57), p<0.001; Uganda, PRR = 0.65 (95% CI: 0.42–1.01), p = 0.054; and Malawi, aPRR = 0.87 (95% CI: 0.64–1.19), p = 0.386; HIV load (≤ 1000 copies/ml copies/ml), aPRR=1.73 (95% CI: 1.26–2.37), p<0.001; and formal/self-employment, aPRR = 1.37 (95% CI: 1.02-1.91), p = 0.027. Conclusions Unintended pregnancy was common while use of effective contraception methods particularly LARCs was low among these African WLHIV. HIV viral load, education, sexual-activity, fertility desires, and economic independence are pertinent individual-level factors integral to the multi-level barriers to utilization of effective contraception among African WLHIV. National programs should prioritize strategies for effective integration of HIV and reproductive health care in the respective African countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0290285
JournalPloS one
Issue number3 March
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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