Now or Never: Perceived HIV Status and Fertility Intentions in Rural Mozambique

Authors

  • Sarah R. Hayford,

    1. Assistant Professor, School of Social and Family Dynamics and Center for Population Dynamics, Arizona State University, Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701. E-mail: sarah.hayford@asu.edu.
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  • Victor Agadjanian,

    1. E.E. Guillot Distinguished Professor, School of Social and Family Dynamics and Center for Population Dynamics, Arizona State University, Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701.
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  • Luciana Luz

    1. Doctoral student, School of Social and Family Dynamics and Center for Population Dynamics, Arizona State University, Box 873701, Tempe, AZ 85287-3701.
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Abstract

As the HIV epidemic evolves, researchers are devoting increased attention to the infection's effect on various life-course activities, including marriage and reproduction. The impact of HIV on decisions about childbearing is particularly important, given the role that vertical transmission plays in the persistence of the epidemic. Previous studies on HIV and fertility intentions have yielded inconsistent results. This article expands on prior research by taking into account preferred timing of childbearing. Using data from a population-based survey in rural Mozambique, we show that higher perceived risk of HIV is associated with greater likelihood of both wanting to speed up childbearing and wanting to stop having children. The “now or never” approach to childbearing is shown to be consistent with the widely held belief that HIV infection is incompatible with childbearing in the long term.

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