Contraception knowledge and practice amongst HIV positive women on anti retroviral therapy.

Yashpal Satiadev Somera, Andrew Ross


This study aims to explore contraceptive use and knowledge among HIV infected women attending the antiretroviral therapy (ART) site at Siyalulama Clinic at the Charles James Hospital. The Siyalulama Clinic was opened in January 2008 and accepts patients from the areas of Umkomaas to Umlazi. The site specialises in the initiation of ART and also to take over patients from the district who were attending sites far off. The site also specialises in the initiation of ART in the TB patients admitted to the Charles James Hospital for inpatient rehabilitation. ART is also initiated in patients outside the district who are then transferred when discharged from the hospital.

The Siyalulama Clinic now down refers its patients to the local clinics where they are managed by PHC doctors and nurses. All patients that are identified for ART at the clinics are counselled before they are referred to the Siyalulama Clinic for initiation of ART.

The site at present has 4983 registered adult patients on ART and 528 paediatric cases as well. There is a full time VCT clinic with five full time counsellors employed and a Wellness clinic operated by the nurses. The TB patients are also managed as priority patients in the initiation of ART. 

The Reproductive Health Research Unit (RHRU), runs the ART clinic in collaboration with the hospital staff at the Charles James Hospital to assist, in the management of HIV positive patients, within the district of Ezimbokodweni, a sub district of the eThekwini Region.

 When the ART clinic was officially opened by the Minister of Health, Ms P Nkonyeni , she expressed concern at the high prevalence of HIV in the district. As part of a comprehensive management strategy, Ms Nkonyeni urged mothers to be aware of contraceptive options  and to carefully plan any future pregnancies. In the opinion of the researcher, it is not clear if information on contraception provided to all women on ART is understood and acted on.