Hormonal Contraception and HIV Acquisition Risk: Implications for Individual Users and Public Policies

The purpose of this paper was to assess the implications of potentially elevated risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) acquisition with the use of hormonal contraceptives for individual users and public policies. Two indicators expressing costs (additional unwanted births and additional maternal deaths) in terms of the same unit of benefit (per 100 HIV infections averted) were estimated by using data on competing risks of unwanted birth and HIV acquisition associated with the use of various contraceptive methods. Elevated HIV acquisition risks associated with hormonal contraception observed in the observational studies of family planning users, sex workers and HIV-1 serodiscordant couples are used. Other relevant data for Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe are used to illustrate the potential effect of withdrawal of DMPA at the population level.

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