CROI 2013: Does Hormonal Contraception Raise the Risk of HIV Infection? [VIDEO]


Use of hormonal contraception such as Depo-Provera does not appear to increase the likelihood of women becoming infected with HIV, nor was it associated with greater HIV shedding among women on antiretroviral therapy (ART), which could increase transmission risk, according to 2 studies presented at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013) last week in Atlanta.

Some prior research has suggested that use of hormonal contraceptives like the injectable depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA or Dep-Provera) may be associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition or transmission, but data have been inconclusive and some studies looked at untreated people rather than those on ART.

Angela Crook from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London evaluated the association between hormonal contraception use and risk of HIV among women participating in a large Microbicides Development Programme trial.

Summer Day from the University of Washington in Seattle looked at the converse question: whether using hormonal contraception makes it more likely that HIV positive women on ART will transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

Both studies found that the answer appears to be no. Neither found a link between hormonal contraceptive use and HIV acquisition or transmission, respectively. According to Day, these findings do not support efforts to restrict women with HIV from using hormonal methods, but rather suggest an additional potential benefit of early ART.

[Angela Crook and Summer Day speak at CROI HIV prevention press conference, Atlanta, March 5, 2013]



A Crook, H Rees, G Ramjee, et al. Hormonal Contraception and Risk of HIV: An Analysis of Data from the Microbicides Development Programme Trial. 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Atlanta, March 3-6, 2013. Abstract 28.

S Day, S Graham, L Masese, et al. Is Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Likely to Increase Infectivity in HIV-1+ Women Receiving ART? 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Atlanta, March 3-6, 2013. Abstract 29.