Increased rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were seen among women who used the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate) compared to women who used other forms of birth control, according to a new meta-analysis. Potential links between Depo-Provera use and incidences of HIV infection have been noted in the medical literature for more than 20 years, the authors explained in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
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What’s the Problem?
Data collected from 10 studies performed in sub-Saharan Africa indicated that Depo-Provera use was linked to a 40% increased risk of HIV risk compared to non-hormonal or no contraception, according to a research team led by Lauren Ralph, MPH, division of epidemiology of the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. The researchers also identified 10 studies examining oral contraceptives and 5 examining norethisterone enanthate that found no evidence of increased HIV rates.
For the meta-analysis, the authors reviewed 26 studies submitted to PubMed after Dec. 1, 2011, as well as relevant abstracts from International AIDS Society meetings and the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections from 2011 to 2014. Of these, 12 studies examined the link between hormonal birth control and HIV. The remaining studies sampled women from the general public at health centers and family planning clinics. The median age of test subjects ranged from 25 to 40 years old.
Two of 12 studies in the primary analysis looked at high-risk populations including serodiscordant partners (couples with mixed HIV status) and commercial sex workers. Those groups yielded the greatest increases in HIV risk (HR 3.93, 1.37-11.2, and HR 1.73, 1.10-1.57, respectively). However, the high heterogeneity between the studies meant their data couldn’t be pooled, according to the researchers.
While some of the studies’ findings may not be statistically significant, they may be clinically relevant, particularly in developed countries. The research could help primary care and ob/gyn physicians who treat high-risk patients in the U.S., according to Diane Harper, department chair for family and geriatric medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky, who was not involved with the analysis.
“I think there are valid populations in the U.S. for which we do need to pay attention and I think that the study very clearly says to me that there are so many other options of birth control that do not have this increased risk of HIV,” said Harper. “In these populations we should not be using Depo-Provera, that it just really is not a wise clinical choice.”
Do I Have a Depo-Provera Lawsuit?
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Free Depo-Provera Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by Depo-Provera, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Depo-Provera Suit and we can help.