Journal Article

The role of unintended pregnancy in internalized stigma among women living with HIV in Kenya

Expanding access to integrated HIV/family planning (FP) services and equipping health workers to provide unbiased FP services to women living with HIV (WLHIV) may help reduce negative feelings WLHIV have toward themselves in addition to reducing barriers to FP. Kenya has successfully expanded HIV treatment, but HIV-related stigma and discrimination remain. While HIV-related stigma can influence the health seeking behaviors of those living with HIV, less is known about how reproductive health outcomes influence internalized stigma among WLHIV.

Using data from the Evidence Project’s study on integrated FP and HIV services in Kenya between 2015 and 2017, this article explores the relationship between unintended pregnancy and internalized stigma among WLHIV in Busia County, Kenya. Results show that women whose last pregnancy was unintended were 1.6 times more likely to have medium/high levels of internalized stigma compared to those whose pregnancy was wanted at the time. The results from this article contribute to the literature on internalized stigma and provide valuable insights for reproductive health and HIV programs that seek to meet the needs of WLHIV.