Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)
Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI)
March 06, 2012
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Use of injectable contraceptives increased risk for HIV acquisition

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SEATTLE — The use of injectable contraceptives increased the risk for HIV acquisition among women in South Africa and Zimbabwe, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.

“We found no increased risk of HIV acquisition among women using combined oral contraception or progestin-only pills,” researcher Sandra McCoy, PhD, MPH, assistant adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, said during a press conference here. “However, compared to women who are not using hormonal contraception, we found that there might be a small increased risk of HIV among women using injectable contraception.”

The researchers analyzed data from 4,913 sexually active women aged 18 to 49 years who were participating in the Methods for Improving Reproductive Health in Africa (MIRA) study. The participants attended quarterly visits for up to 24 months. They were tested for pregnancy, HIV and other STDs, and reported information about their sexual behavior and use of contraception.

The risk for HIV acquisition among nonpregnant women who used combined oral contraceptive pills, progestin-only pills or injectable hormonal contraception was compared with the risk of women not using these contraception methods.

Of the 4,913 women included in the study, 288 acquired HIV. The use of combined oral contraceptive pills or progestin-only pills was not associated with an increased risk for HIV infection. The use of any injectable contraception was associated with an increased risk for HIV infection (HR=1.41; 95% CI, 1.04-1.91).

A prespecified analysis found that among women with herpes simplex virus-2 who were aged at least 25 years, injectable hormonal contraception use was associated with an increased risk for HIV infection (HR=2.21; 95% CI, 1.38-3.53).

Sandra McCoy, PhD, MPH

“Our results for oral contraception pills are reassuring because 100 million women globally use oral contraception pills,” McCoy said. “It is an important public health issue.”

For more information:

  • McCoy S. #20LB. Presented at: 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; March 5-8, 2012; Seattle.

Disclosure: Dr. McCoy reports no relevant financial disclosures.