Ethics. Research. Community.

The right to love: the desire for parenthood among men living with HIV.

Reproductive health matters. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Drug regimens and procedures now exist that will prevent parents from transmitting HIV to infants, and the ethical and legal obligation to promote and protect the reproductive rights of those living with HIV should form part of training for HIV/AIDS care and prevention. This paper reports a study that investigated issues of sexuality and reproduction with 250 Brazilian men living with HIV in São Paulo. We asked whether they wished to have children and whether health professionals in HIV/AIDS treatment clinics that they attended were supportive of their wishes. Health professionals were not considered by most participants to be supportive enough or even impartial about HIV-positive people having children, and paid little attention to men's fathering role. 80% of the men had sexual relationships, and 43% of them wanted children, especially those who had no children, in spite of expectations of disapproval. Few of the men received information about treatment options that would protect infants, however. In previous studies with HIV-positive women attending the same clinics, by comparison, greater knowledge about prevention of perinatal HIV transmission was reported, but women had fewer sexual relationships, fewer desired to have children, and they expected even more disapproval of having children from health professionals. We conclude that the rights of those with HIV to found a family depend as much on curing the ills of prejudice and discrimination, including among health professionals, as on medical interventions.
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