In South Africa many couples are affected by HIV. They can expect virtually normal life expectancy if they get started on treatment early and take their ART regularly. The PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission) programme at Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre is well known and we have very strong links to the community. Couples who attend our HIV clinic have started asking about having children, and our response is a Safer Conception Clinic called Sakh'umndeni: “building the family”, to inform HIV-affected couples that safer conception is possible, risks can be minimised and there are options which are affordable, to help couples achieve their reproductive desires while minimizing the risk of HIV transmission between partners and preventing HIV infection of the baby.
The goal of Sakh'umndeni: “building the family”, is to help couples achieve their reproductive desires, while minimizing the risk of HIV transmission between partners trying to get pregnant, and preventing HIV infection of the baby, should they conceive. Evidence-based, lower cost methods will be utilized and evaluated. These include risk reduction counselling, HIV treatment, fertility awareness training that focuses on ensuring good health and reduced HIV viral load of the infected partner/s prior to conception, and reduced frequency of unprotected sex while the couple is trying to get pregnant.