Enough Children: Reproduction, Risk and “Unmet Need” among People Receiving Antiretroviral Treatment in Western Uganda

  • Amy Kaler
  • Arif Alibhai
  • Walter Kipp
  • Joseph Konde-Lule
  • Tom Rubaale


In this paper, we use survey (n=87) and interview (n=30) data to investigate orientations towards future childbearing among people receiving antiretroviral treatment and their family members in western Uganda. We investigate how reproductive options are perceived, by those receiving treatment and those closest to them, and consider what these perceptions suggest about the existence of an “unmet need” for birth control for women with HIV. While most people say they do not wish to have more children while on treatment, this intention coexists with contradictory desires for the benefits and happiness that more children might bring. We argue that the factors influencing birth desires and outcomes are so complex and contradictory that it is virtually impossible to predict demand or uptake of birth control as more and more people with AIDS in Africa gain the ability to access antiretroviral treatments.

Keywords: HAART, AIDS, fertility, contraception, Uganda, unmet need

Afr J Reprod Health 2012; 16[1]:133-144

Author Biographies

Amy Kaler
Department of Sociology, University of Alberta. Arif Alibhai, School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Arif Alibhai
Walter Kipp School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Walter Kipp
Joseph Konde-Lule, School of Public Health, Makerere University
Joseph Konde-Lule
Tom Rubaale, Kabarole Health District, Kabarole, Uganda
Tom Rubaale
Tom Rubaale, Kabarole Health District, Kabarole, Uganda

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1118-4841