Abortion and HIV

If I am HIV positive

For some women you may find out that you are HIV positive and pregnant on the same day. This news may be devastating and confusing. You may be referred to antenatal care and not given the option for to have an abortion. Currently given the test and treat regimen, you are provided with ARVs and treatment and could be quite well and not pass on the virus to your fetus. If you do want to continue your pregnancy an abortion is an option that you can consider and it is important to seek an earlier than later in terms of access. There is no real difference in whether it is better to have a surgical or medical abortion. You are not alone and there are options for you to choose.

Research from the WHO suggests, HIV positive women may need abortion care for various reasons. Rates of violence against positive women are high [2]; when sexual assault is involved and a woman cannot access emergency contraception, she may want to terminate a resulting unwanted pregnancy. HIV positive women may access abortion services because they deliberately and thoughtfully choose not to have a(nother) child. Lack of access to appropriate contraceptives, and little or no control over decisions regarding childbearing leads to unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Our research shows that women who already have children when they are diagnosed may feel less desire to have more [3]. HIV positive women have also chosen abortions because of fears that our pregnancy would lead to our own poor health or death, so rendering our older children motherless; and that our babies might also contract HIV or be unhealthy or die soon after birth: which would cause immense suffering for the baby and grief for our families. WHO has also noted that, although the available data are limited, HIV positive women appear to have higher risks of stillbirths and spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), which may require post-abortion care