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Hum Reprod Update. 2009 Mar-Apr;15(2):165-76. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmn049. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Contraception and HIV infection in women.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Helsinki, Finland. oskari.heikinheimo@helsinki.fi

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

More than 15 million women, many of reproductive age, were infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at the end of 2007. As the HIV epidemic evolves, heterosexual intercourse is increasingly risky: the risk of infection in exposed young women is 4- to 7-fold higher than in young men and nearly half a million newborns annually have HIV. This review aims to show the effect of contraceptive choices on risk of HIV and on the course of disease in women with HIV.

METHODS:

Relevant citations were selected by agreement between the authors after a search of MEDLINE using the terms HIV/AIDS and contraception.

RESULTS:

Risk of transmission of HIV varies from 1 in 200 to 1 in 10 000 coital incidents, depending in part on the integrity of the vaginal epithelium. Consistent use of male condoms has been proven to reduce horizontal transmission of HIV by 80% among HIV-serodiscordant couples. Hormonal contraception may increase the risk of HIV acquisition in high-risk women such as commercial sex workers, but not in women at low risk of HIV. While hormonal contraception did not affect progression of disease in two cohort studies involving 370 women, in a randomized trial among women not receiving antiretroviral medication, clinical disease accelerated in the oral contraception group (13.2/100 woman-years) compared with the copper intrauterine devices group (8.6/100 woman-years; hazard ratio, 1.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-2.1). Hormonal contraception does not interfere with antiviral drug effectiveness.

CONCLUSIONS:

All the available reversible contraceptive methods can generally be used by women at risk of HIV infection and by HIV-infected women. Further studies are needed to investigate the safety and efficiency of hormonal contraception in women living with HIV/AIDS.

PMID:
18978360
PMCID:
PMC2639085
DOI:
10.1093/humupd/dmn049
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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