Southern Africa

African Contraception Leading To Two Times As Many HIV Cases

A recent large scale study has revealed that the most popular injectable contraception in southern Africa is leading to twice as many cases of HIV.

Published on Monday the research study found that women were twice as likely to become infected with HIV while men were also twice as likely to become infected compared to when they used no contraception at all.

According to the NY Times:

The findings potentially present an alarming quandary for women in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of them suffer injuries, bleeding, infections and even death in childbirth from unintended pregnancies. Finding affordable and convenient contraceptives is a pressing goal for international health authorities.

The study has found that injectable contraceptive drugs have biological properties that make both men and women more susceptible to H.I.V.

Speaking about injectable drugs Isobel Coleman, director of the women and foreign policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations said:

“The best contraception today is injectable hormonal contraception because you don’t need a doctor, it’s long-lasting, it enables women to control timing and spacing of birth without a lot of fuss and travel,” while adding, “If it is now proven that these contraceptions are helping spread the AIDS epidemic, we have a major health crisis on our hands.”

According to prescription numbers nearly 12 million women in Africa from the age of 15 to 49 use injectable hormone treatments, nearly 6 percent of all women in the country. In the United States 1.2 million women (3 percent of the population) use the treatments.

The study was led by researchers at the University of Washington and is fully published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and included 3,800 couples in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

According to the study:

The study found that women using hormonal contraception became infected at a rate of 6.61 per 100 person-years, compared with 3.78 for those not using that method. Transmission of H.I.V. to men occurred at a rate of 2.61 per 100 person-years for women using hormonal contraception compared with 1.51 for those who did not.