August 07, 2014

Myth Busting: Hormonal contraception doesn't increase risk of HIV infection

One of the consistent myths that surrounds hormonal contraception is that the usage of it increases the likelihood that women won't use alternative forms of barrier contraception, leading to an increased risk of STIs.

At least one study throws this into significant question.

Medscape says:
No link between hormonal contraceptives and a woman's risk for HIV has been found after 17 years of follow-up in a Zambian cohort of HIV-discordant couples, new research shows.
 Only one form of contraception showed any link of higher risks:
However, a large meta-analysis shows an increased risk for HIV with the use of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera), but not with any other type of hormonal contraceptive.
The findings are unlikely to change current recommendations on for HIV-discordant couples (those with one HIV positive partner and one not):
Nevertheless, because the risk for HIV associated with progestogen-only injectable contraceptives remains an open question, women and couples at high risk for HIV infection should have access to other prevention measures, including male and female condoms. 
But it does shed some light on the idea that contraception is quite multi-faceted.

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