Studies Examine Hormonal Contraception and HIV Infection Risk, Effective Behavior Change Programs To Prevent Spread of HIV
The following highlights recently released journal articles on HIV/AIDS.
- "Hormonal Contraception and Incident HIV-1 Infection: New Insight and Continuing Challenges," AIDS: "Understanding whether hormonal contraception increases the risk of incident HIV-1 infection among women is a critical public health issue," Marc Bulterys of CDC and colleagues write in an editorial comment in the journal AIDS. Bulterys -- in response to a study published Thursday on the AIDS Web site, which found that using hormonal contraception does not increase women's overall risk of HIV infection -- writes that at least 13 studies have been published on the association between hormonal contraception use and the risk of HIV-1 infection; however, the recent AIDS study included some "unexpected" findings. A subgroup of women who did not have genital herpes and were using hormonal contraception were at an increased risk of HIV infection, compared with those who were not using hormonal contraception, according to the study. Similar findings "have not been reported by other" researchers, according to Bulterys. "[R]ather than dismissing the variation observed among studies, we should examine if such variation may be reflecting real differences in at-risk populations such as sex workers and adolescent girls," Bulterys writes, adding that "future studies will need to evaluate any possible impact of hormonal contraception on HIV-1 infectivity" (Bulterys et al., AIDS, December 2007).
- "Best-Evidence Interventions: Findings From a Systematic Review of HIV Behavioral Interventions for U.S. Populations at High Risk, 2000-2004," American Journal of Public Health: Cynthia Lyles of CDC and colleagues examined 100 behavioral intervention programs aimed at preventing the spread of HIV that were developed between 2000 and 2004. The researchers identified 18 programs that seemed to have a significant impact on reducing risky behavior and that could be used by local agencies, as well as receive federal funding. The most effective programs provide HIV/AIDS education, methods for avoiding risky sexual behavior and strategies that can be used when in risky sexual situations, according to the study. Role playing often is used in effective programs, according to Reuters Health. Other elements of effective programs include instructions for male and female condom use and communication skills, the study found. "Most importantly, many of these newly identified efficacious interventions targeted populations disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic and in need of effective prevention tools," the researchers wrote, adding, "However, important gaps still exist." According to the researchers, the study did not examine needle-exchange programs because they are not eligible for federal funding (Reuters Health, 12/5).