Chitereka, Jekoniya, Pemberai Mandikutse, Dadirai Nguwo, Ngwarai Sithole, and Nyasha Madzingira. 2014. Unintended Births and HIV in the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey. DHS Working Papers No. 113 (Zimbabwe Working Papers No. 14). Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF International.
The results of the 2010/11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) showed that 32 percent of births among women age 15-49 in the five years preceding the survey were unintended—either mistimed (wanted later) or not wanted at all (unwanted). Unintended births pose a serious threat to the
attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly for reducing child mortality and improving maternal health. The aim of this study is to establish if there is a relationship between women’s HIV status and having unintended births.
The study used cross-sectional data from the 2010/11 ZDHS. Of the 9,171 women respondents in the survey, this study focused on the 1,458 women age 15-49 who had had a birth in the two years preceding the survey, were tested for HIV, and responded to the household relations module (domestic violence module). Almost 14 percent of women in this study were HIV-positive and about one-third (34 percent) reported that a birth in the two years preceding the survey was unintended.
The analysis showed that, controlling for other factors, 1) HIV-positive women were almost twice as likely as HIV-negative women to have had an unintended birth; 2) women who experienced spousal physical violence during their lifetime and women who experienced non-spousal sexual violence were strongly associated with unintended births; and 3) unintended births were significantly associated with the following variables: use of family planning, contraceptive discontinuation, mother’s age at birth, marital status, and preceding birth interval of the index child.
Unintended births are a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. This analysis showed that HIV status is related to unintended births, with HIV-positive women being twice as likely to have an unintended birth. As a result, countries with a high HIV prevalence may be more at risk for a high burden of unintended pregnancies. HIV-positive women need comprehensive information on family planning.