Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

17 February 2012

World Health Organization Latest Statement on the Link Between Hormonal Contraceptives and HIV

via Plus News

Four months after a study suggested women on hormonal contraception may be at an increased HIV risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reaffirmed the birth control method's safety, but strongly recommends that women on progesterone-only injections, like Depo-Provera, also use condoms to prevent HIV infection.

In October 2011 the British medical journal, The Lancet, published the findings of a study showing that women who relied on hormonal shots to prevent pregnancy doubled their HIV risk. They also found that women on this type of birth control and living with HIV doubled the chances that they could transmit HIV to their partners.

Although the women in the study did not identify their birth control methods, most were probably using the progesterone-only, depot medroxprogeterone acetate shot. More commonly known by the brand name, Depo-Provera, this drug is the backbone of most African family-planning programmes.

The study prompted WHO meetings in late January and February 2012, during which experts and civil society representatives reviewed research on hormonal contraception and HIV risk. However, because no clinical trial has ever looked specifically at this potential link, including the October 2011 study, evidence remains largely inconclusive.

In the absence of a proven link between hormonal contraception and HIV infection, the WHO issued a statement on 16 February standing by current guidelines that allow women living with or at high risk of HIV to use hormonal contraception. However, the body has recommended that current guidelines be amended to advise women using progesterone-only injections be strongly advised to use condoms concurrently to prevent HIV infection. 

The need for future research into the matter was discussed at side meetings, said Dr Jared Baeten of the US University of Washington, one of the authors of the 2011 study. Although no decision was taken, he added that conducting such a trial would pose serious challenges. About 12 million women in sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to be on injectable contraception.

Read the Rest.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

No comments:

Post a Comment