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Hormonal Contraceptives May Up HIV-1 Acquisition by Women

Last Updated: October 04, 2011.

Use of hormonal contraceptives is associated with an increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition by women, and an increased risk of HIV-1 transmission from HIV-infected women to HIV-1 seronegative men, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Use of hormonal contraceptives is associated with an increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition by women, and an increased risk of HIV-1 transmission from HIV-infected women to HIV-1 seronegative men, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Renee Heffron, M.P.H., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues investigated the correlation between hormonal contraceptive use and risk of acquiring HIV-1 by women, and the risk of transmission from HIV-1-infected women to their male partners. A total of 3,970 heterosexual HIV-1-serodiscordant couples from seven African countries were included in the analysis. HIV-1 seroconversion was the primary outcome during a median follow-up of 18 years.

The investigators found that, among 1,314 couples with a female HIV-1-seronegative partner, the HIV-1 acquisition rates were significantly higher for those women who used hormonal contraception compared with those who did not (6.61 and 3.78 per 100 person-years, respectively; adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.98). Among 2,476 couples with a male HIV-1-seronegative partner, rates of HIV-1 transmission from women to men were 2.61 and 1.51 per 100 person-years in couples with women using and women not using hormonal contraception, respectively (adjusted HR, 1.97).

"Women should be counseled about potentially increased risk of HIV-1 acquisition and transmission with hormonal contraception, especially injectable methods, and about the importance of dual protection with condoms to decrease HIV-1 risk," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries.

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