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Factors Influencing Fertility Choices Among HIV Infected Mothers in Uasin Gishu District, Kenya

M Keraka
W Serem


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.