Hormonal Contraception Use Does Not Increase Women’s Risk of HIV Infection, Study Says
The use of hormonal contraception does not increase women's overall risk of HIV infection, according to a study published Thursday on the Web site of the Journal AIDS, Reuters reports. The study -- conducted by NIH -- followed about 6,000 women ages 18 to 35 in Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe and compared their patterns of contraception use with their risk of HIV infection. The women were offered birth control pills, depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate injections and condoms, and they were tested for HIV four to five times a year for 15 to 24 months, Reuters reports. None of the study participants was HIV-positive when the trial began. Two-hundred-and-thirteen participants in Africa and four participants in Thailand at the end of the study were HIV-positive. Researchers found no evidence linking use of hormonal contraceptives to an increased risk of HIV infection. "Understanding whether hormonal contraceptive use alters the risk of HIV acquisition among women is a critical public health issue," the researchers wrote, adding, "In summary, this large, multisite study found no overall increased risk of HIV acquisition associated with hormonal contraceptive use." According to researchers, the study could not exclude an increase in risk for HIV infection among women already at higher risk, such as commercial sex workers (Reuters, 12/8).
The study is available online.