Two women living with HIV/Aids say they have had varying experiences in their reproductive health after consistently using hormonal contraceptives like injectables.
Two women living with HIV/Aids say they have had varying experiences in their reproductive health after consistently using hormonal contraceptives like injectables. Florence Masuliya, a member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV East Africa Chapter (ICWEA), started using hormonal contraceptives in 2003 when she was put on ARVs. By that time she already had two children, a boy and a girl.
Masuliya says three years when she wanted to conceive and have a baby; she could not prompt her to seek medical advice from a gynecologist. She explains that after a series of tests it was found out that the hormonal contraceptives she had been on had had negative effects on her reproductive system and that she had suffered permanent infertility and can therefore not reproduce.
Masuliya says that she feels shattered because her dream of having a baby has been dashed. She says there is a need for reproductive health workers to have the correct information on the risks associated with usage of hormonal contraceptives so that women living with HIV as well as others can make informed choices.
Another ICW member, Hajara Mukyala, says that she has been on hormonal contraception for eight years and keeps conceiving to her dislike. Mukyala, who is pregnant, says that she keeps wondering whether the hormonal contraceptive she has been using is effective for her. She says that she was advised by doctors that using injectables would prevent her from pregnancy and the contrary has happened. Masuliya and Mukyala’s situations add to the debate over the risks associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives by HIV positive women.
The World Health Organization has issued a statement in which it says women living with HIV or at high risk of HIV infection should use all types of hormonal contraceptives without restriction, but should also use other preventive methods like using condoms. But the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) has come out strongly to urge the WHO to create more awareness on the risks associated with using hormonal contraceptives so that women can make informed choices.
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