Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Tied to Higher HIV Risk

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Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Tied to Higher HIV Risk
Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Tied to Higher HIV Risk

(HealthDay News) -- The injectable birth control depot medroxyprogesterone acetate is associated with an increased risk of HIV infection in women, according to a review of research in Africa. Results of the review were published online Jan. 8 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Lauren Ralph, M.P.H., an epidemiologist at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, and colleagues conducted an analysis of 12 studies involving 39,560 women who were HIV-negative when the studies began. Two of the studies -- with a total of 2,100 women -- included couples where the woman's partner had already been diagnosed with HIV.

The researchers found oral contraceptive pills and other forms of hormonal contraception didn't increase the risk of HIV. But depot medroxyprogesterone acetate was linked to increased odds of HIV infection, particularly when the analysis included women already at high risk, such as sex workers. Overall, there was evidence of an increase in HIV risk of 40 percent (10 studies). In a subgroup of women in the general population (eight studies), the increase in risk was lower (31 percent).

In a statement, Pfizer, the maker of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera), said it "is not aware of any scientific evidence showing a causal association between use of hormonal contraceptives and an increase in HIV transmission rates." The company added that all of the studies to date, including this one, have not been designed "to demonstrate a causal relationship as they cannot control for all potential confounding factors."

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