No HIV Risk with Hormonal Injections

CDC changes recommendation on contraceptive use for women at risk of HIV

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Sexually active women may wonder which form of birth control is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Condom use is the most effective way to prevent HIV infection, says the nation’s top health agency.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amended its recommendation for women who are at risk for contracting HIV.

They say that there is no clear link between the use of injectable contraception, such as Depo Provera, and HIV infection.

"Injectable Hormones are OK for women."

In an annual report, CDC scientists found that 59 percent of people newly diagnosed with HIV had a negative HIV test at some point before their diagnosis.

The team also reports that many people who are diagnosed with HIV, including high-risk women, had never been tested previously, and according to the report, people who are unaware of their HIV diagnosis are probably not taking proper steps, such as using a condom during sex, to prevent transmission of the disease.

Researchers looked at data for 57,476 people from the CDC’s National HIV Surveillance System and found that 44 percent of heterosexual women who tested HIV positive had never been tested before, or more specifically, had never received an HIV-negative test.

Other groups with the highest number of people testing positive who had never been tested before included heterosexual males (56 percent), injection-drug users (54 percent) and blacks (44 percent).

According to the CDC, about 4 million women at risk for an unplanned pregnancy are not using contraception. Meanwhile, 10 thousand new HIV infections occurred among American women in 2010, the latest year for which data is available.

These two statistics highlight the critical importance of contraception use among American women.

The CDC reaffirms its previous recommendations on contraceptive methods among women who are at high risk for HIV infection:

They say that hormonal contraception, including combined hormonal pills, progestin-only pills, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and implants are all safe for women.

Previous studies had demonstrated an increased risk for HIV acquisition among women who use DMPA and other injectables, though researchers are not sure how this link exists.

Also, women who don’t use condoms should be counseled about the risk for sexually transmitted disease.

The researchers also note that there are a variety of contraceptive methods available, and that condom use is the best way to prevent HIV infection.

This study was published on the CDC’s website.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 21, 2012
Last Updated:
June 27, 2012