Family planning counseling for women living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review of the impact on contraceptive uptake, intention to use contraception and pregnancy incidence, 2011 to 2022


Women’s ability to control their fertility and have the number of children they want when they want them is an internationally recognized human right. This right has been the driving force behind family planning programs in low- and middle-income countries for more than five decades. The HIV epidemic added greater urgency to those efforts once the risk of vertical transmission of the virus from mothers to their infants was recognized. In 2013, we published a systematic review of the evidence of effectiveness of family planning counseling for women living with HIV, emphasizing HIV related behaviors. In this updated review, we examined 23 studies, primarily from sub-Saharan Africa. The evidence we uncovered reflected efforts to integrate services provided to women. These showed that providing contraceptive services, including intensified counseling and support, in the HIV clinics where women living with HIV received their care increased the likelihood of subsequent use of modern contraception by as much as fourfold. These studies reflected a greater focus on women’s family planning decisions and behaviors and less focus on HIV-related behaviors. Among the possible causes of this noted difference we include the widespread coverage of antiretroviral treatment for HIV. This advance has apparently changed the rationale and the approach to integrating family planning and HIV services in ways that may not have been fully appreciated. The results, however, are beneficial: greater coverage of family planning for women who wish to control their fertility and a more equal partnership between family planning services and HIV services in pursuit of the mutual goal of providing integrated services to meet women’s needs.


O'Reilly KR, Yeh PT, Kennedy CE, Fonner VA, Sweat MD




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Health services
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions


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