This study was an institutional based to identify the knowledge and utilization of family planning methods by the people living with HIV. Its purpose was also to explore the factors affecting the utilization of the family planning methods. The study was conducted in four ART sites of Kathmandu Valley. The study was quantitative.
Socio-economic and demographic variables
In this study, sex of the respondents was statistically significant in association with the utilization of family planning whereas, other socio economic variables such as ethnicity, age of the respondents, age at marriage, respondents’ education, spouses’ education and occupation were not associated. In a similar study done in Kathmandu district, the respondents’ sex was significant with the use of family planning. In contrast, the study conducted in the Kathmandu district, Northern Uganda, Southern Uganda, Swaziland and Northern Ethiopia respondents’ education was significantly associated with the use of contraception (4, 21-24).
HIV related information
The respondents whose spouses were HIV positive were more likely to use the family planning methods than whose spouses were HIV negative. Similar finding was found in the study done in Kathmandu district (4). Only 50% of the respondents had disclosed their HIV status with their sexual partner. Disclosure of HIV status has been empowering experience to both male and female (15).
Reproductive history and fertility desire
The mean number of children for the respondents found to be 1.82(±0.933) whereas in the study done in Kathmandu district the mean was 1.96 (±0.06) (4).
In this study, the fertility desire found to be nil. Whereas in the similar study in Kathmandu district 20% of the respondents had desire to have children. In addition to, it was not statistically significant in association with the utilization of family planning methods (4). In Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, culture plays an important role in the fertility desire (25). In context of Nepal too, the child bearing is the ultimate goal of marriage but the HIV status have negative impact on it (4). During the interview the majority of the respondents responded that they did not want their child to suffer because of them. A study done in India found that the respondents being HIV positive was statistically significant in association with the limiting fertility desire (26). This might be true in this study.
Knowledge on family planning methods
This study revealed that almost half of the respondents (48.8%) had the good knowledge on the use of contraception. In Cameroon, the knowledge of the women was taken into account which was 98%. In Northern Uganda (96%) and Cameroon, there was high level of knowledge (9, 21). However, in Nigeria only 7% had the good knowledge of family planning methods (27).
Utilization of the family planning methods
In this section, the answers from the respondents and their partner was included. The percentage of utilizing it is more than that of the results published from the study of Kathmandu (72%) and Kaski districts (70%) of Nepal (4, 5). The increase in the use of contraception might be the tremendous use of condom.
A mixed method study done in Northern Uganda reported that 96 percent people living with HIV had knowledge about family planning methods. But only, 38 percent were currently using any method (21). Similar kind of study was done among HIV positive women of age (15-49) years of Cameroon region (2013) which resulted 98% knew at least one method of contraception (27). Interestingly in South West Nigeria, people living with HIV had poor knowledge (7 percent) and very low current use of contraception (29.9 percent) (27).
The trend of the use of contraceptive before and after HIV diagnosis suggest tremendous increase in the use of condom compared to non-condom contraceptives. This finding is supported by the research done in the Kathmandu district of Nepal, Iran, Swaziland, India and Uganda (4, 22, 23, 28, 29). According to the mixed method study done on Iran the people living with HIV were not willing to use other than condom because of the recommendation made by the health care providers as the main method of contraception (28).
This research resulted that the HIV status of spouses is statistically significant with the utilization of family planning methods. This has been emphasized by a national guideline of Ethiopia (31). Only 11 % of either the respondents or their partner had used the emergency contraceptive pill whereas, in Thailand as per the cohort study 29.6% had used the dual protection (30). In the similar study done in Kaski district of Nepal, 0.83% had used it (5).
The prevalence of condom use was increased from 13% to 92% compared to before and after HIV diagnosis respectively in Kathmandu district (4). Similarly, the use of condoms increased from 35% to 81% after being diagnosed with HIV in three cities of India (26).
Perceived reasons for not using family planning methods
The most common perceived reason for not using any methods of family planning was both the partners being infected with HIV. Other reasons were: lack of sexual desire and husband’s disapproval. This indicates the need of sufficient counselling and awareness to the PLHIV. A similar study done in Kaski resulted the significant association between counselling sessions on family planning and the use of them (5). However according to the studies done in Ghana and Uganda misinformation, fear of side effects, negative perceptions, health concerns, reduction in pleasure were identified as the reason for non-utilization of the family planning (32, 33).
Recall bias was the limitation. Since the questionnaire included the family planning methods, the respondents were hesitate to specify the family planning methods they have heard / used.