Common birth control shot linked to risk of HIV infection

January 4, 2018, The Endocrine Society
Zdenek Hel. Credit: UAB

Transitioning away from a popular contraceptive shot known as DMPA could help protect women in Sub-Saharan Africa and other high-risk regions from becoming infected with HIV, according to a research review published in the Endocrine Society's journal Endocrine Reviews.

The predominant contraceptive in Sub-Saharan Africa is depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA)—a shot administered every three months. Human studies suggest DMPA use may raise the risk of HIV infection by 40 percent. Other forms of contraceptive shots do not show the same correlation with HIV infection. In this article, the authors review the underlying biological mechanisms that could contribute to increased risk of HIV infection for certain hormonal contraceptives but not others.

According to UNAIDS, 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV as of 2016. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

"To protect individual and public health, it is important to ensure women in areas with high rates of HIV infection have access to affordable contraceptive options," said the review's first author, Prof. Janet P. Hapgood, Ph.D., of the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. "Increasing availability of contraceptives that use a different form of the female hormone progestin than the one found in DMPA could help reduce the risk of HIV transmission."

In addition to these clinical studies, the review's authors examined animal, cell and biochemical research on the form of progestin used in DMPA—medroxprogesterone acetate, or MPA. The analysis revealed MPA acts differently than other forms of progestin used in contraceptives. MPA behaves like the in the cells of the that can come in contact with HIV.

"The increased rate of HIV infection among women using DMPA contraceptive shots is likely due to multiple reasons, including decreases in immune function and the protective barrier function of the female genital tract," Hapgood said. "Studying the biology of MPA helps us understand what may be driving the increased rate of HIV infection seen in human research. These findings suggest other forms of birth control should rapidly replace DMPA shots."

Explore further: Risk of HIV infection in studies of African women using hormonal contraceptives

More information: Hormonal Contraception and HIV-1 Acquisition: Biological Mechanisms, Endocrine Reviews, academic.oup.com/edrv/advance- … r.2017-00103/4788769

Related Stories

Risk of HIV infection in studies of African women using hormonal contraceptives

January 22, 2015
Use of the injectable progestin contraceptive depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is linked to an increased risk for HIV infection, according to an article published by Charles Morrison of FHI 360 and colleagues in this ...

Why do certain hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of HIV?

September 1, 2015
In recent years, evidence has been building that injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera or DMPA) is associated with an increased risk of HIV infection. Now a study published in the September ...

Study finds link between injectable contraceptives and breast cancer risk in younger women

April 4, 2012
The first large-scale U.S.-based study to evaluate the link between an injectable form of progestin-only birth control and breast cancer risk in young women has found that recent use of a year or more doubles the risk. The ...

Study supports link between injectable hormonal contraceptive and HIV risk

January 9, 2015
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), commonly known as Depo-Provera or the birth control shot, have a moderately increased risk of becoming infected with HIV, a large meta-analysis of 12 studies involving ...

Injectable progesterone contraceptives may be associated with poor periodontal health

February 6, 2012
Injectable progesterone contraceptives may be associated with poor periodontal health, according to research in the Journal of Periodontology. The study found that women who are currently taking depotmedroxyprogesterone acetate ...

Recommended for you

War in Ukraine has escalated HIV spread in the country: study

January 15, 2018
Conflict in Ukraine has increased the risk of HIV outbreaks throughout the country as displaced HIV-infected people move from war-affected regions to areas with higher risk of transmission, according to analysis by scientists.

Researchers offer new model for uncovering true HIV mortality rates in Zambia

January 12, 2018
A new study that seeks to better ascertain HIV mortality rates in Zambia could provide a model for improved national and regional surveillance approaches, and ultimately, more effective HIV treatment strategies.

Sleep quality improves with help of incontinence drug

January 12, 2018
A drug used to curtail episodes of urinary incontinence in women also improves quality of sleep, a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.

Frozen embryos result in just as many live births in IVF

January 10, 2018
Freezing and subsequent transfer of embryos gives infertile couples just as much of a chance of having a child as using fresh embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF), research from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Adelaide, ...

New drug capsule may allow weekly HIV treatment

January 9, 2018
Researchers at MIT and Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can deliver a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. This advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule ...

Study suggests air pollution breathed in the months before and after conception increases chance of birth defects

January 8, 2018
A team of researchers with the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children's Hospital has found evidence that indicates that pre-and post-pregnant women living in an area with air pollution are at an increased risk of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.