Hormonal contraception may increase the chances of transmitting HIV between sex partners, according to a new study conducted in Africa.
Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle conducted a study on 3,790 women in Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. They found that the women using hormonal contraceptives were twice as likely to become infected with HIV.
The risk was increased among those using injectable and oral contraceptives.
It’s possible that biological changes, such as changes to the cells that line the vagina or cervix, could possibly influence susceptibility to HIV, the researchers said.
“Recommendations regarding contraceptive use, particularly emphasizing the importance of dual protection with condoms and the use of non-hormonal and low-dose hormonal methods for women with or at risk for HIV-1, are urgently needed”, said study researcher Renee Heffron, also of the University of Washington.