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Pregnancy and Associated Factors Among Adolescents and Young Adults Living with HIV in the Northwest Region of Cameroon

Author(s): Mirabel Vifeme, Nsom Gwendoline, Banlack Ernest, Eveline Mboh, Emmanuel Nshom, Tebeu Pierre Marie

Background: The evolution in antiretroviral treatment programs enabled HIV infected children to reach adulthood, passing through a series of sexual relationship challenges, notably early/unintended pregnancies. The risks facing young mothers are amplified for those living with HIV, who face additional vulnerabilities. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with pregnancy among adolescents and young adults living with HIV.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using a sequential sampling of adolescents and young adults living with HIV. Structured questionnaires were used to collect data between February and April 2022 from 238 clients in 16 HIV care and treatment sites in the Northwest Region. Data collected was cleaned and analyzed using Stata version 14.0.

Results: The mean age of the 238 study participants was 18.7 years with a 26.5% prevalence of pregnancy. About 59.2% were adolescents aged 15-19 years, 90.8% single, 72.3% unemployed, while only 40.8% of those who had been exposed to sex used a pregnancy prevention method. Being an urban dweller, not schooling and having first sex between the ages 15-19 years were statistically associated with higher odds of pregnancy.

Conclusion: The rate of pregnancy among adolescents and young adults living with HIV is high and mostly associated with sociodemographic factors. Setting strategies to retain youths in school, intensifying the creation of awareness on reproductive health issues, and especially counseling on pregnancy prevention methods could be options to mitigate this real-time challenge in young girls as a whole particularly those living with HIV.

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