Family Planning Integration in Community-based HIV Programs

© 2012 Akintunde Akinleye/NURHI, Courtesy of Photoshare

Unintended pregnancy and the vertical transmission of HIV to children are important challenges for women living with HIV, especially in low-income countries. An unintended pregnancy can have negative health, economic, and social consequences for both the woman and the child, including increased maternal morbidity and mortality, poor nutrition, and infant mortality. For HIV-positive women, the likelihood of adverse health outcomes associated with pregnancy are elevated due to factors like a faster decline in CD4 count after pregnancy, HIV-related infections and co-morbid conditions.

Enabling women and couples living with HIV to access and use contraception effectively is a cost-effective strategy that can decrease the number of unintended pregnancies and in turn reduce maternal mortality and vertical transmission of HIV. Globally, the prevention of unintended pregnancy among women living with HIV has been identified as a major component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The Evidence Project is conducting a study in Kenya to assess the feasibility, acceptability, effectiveness, and cost of integrating family planning services into HIV services at the community level. Community health volunteers, who are already providing community-based HIV services, are being trained to integrate counseling and provision of short-term family planning methods into their current services and to link HIV-positive clients to facility-based services for long acting and reversible contraceptives and permanent methods.

The results of this study will be used to provide technical assistance to the Kenyan MOH to help them identify and scale up effective community level FP/HIV integration packages.