To explore women's experiences and beliefs concerning zidovudine (AZT) therapy during pregnancy, short-answer and open-ended questions were asked of 322 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected women at increased risk for pregnancy. Specifically, we examined what women believed they had been told concerning AZT therapy during pregnancy by health care professionals and peers, experiences with taking AZT, how effective they believed AZT therapy to be, and if they would take AZT if they became pregnant. Women in the study were predominately African American (88%), single (79%), with a mean age of 32 years, and had annual incomes less than $10,000 (64%). Although 81.4% of the women had been told to take antiretrovirals, only 69.1% of the women were actually taking HIV-related medicines. Almost three-fourths of the women (70.8%) reported being told that taking AZT during pregnancy would reduce perinatal transmission. Women reported the most frequent reason for their stopping AZT was its side effects. When women who were not presently taking AZT were asked what would make them consider taking it, they most frequently said they would begin AZT if their health deteriorated or based on the advice of health care professionals. A small group of women said nothing would make them take AZT-type medications. More than one-half of the women said they felt AZT was effective in preventing perinatal HIV transmission. However, almost 20% of the women reported believing that their health care provider would not be positive about their taking AZT during pregnancy. Significant relationships were found between intent to take AZT if becoming pregnant and specific AZT-related beliefs and experiences.
- AZT therapy,
- perinatal HIV transmission
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kenneth_phillips/48/