Oct 4, 2011




(MSNBC)Hormonal contraception may make it easier for HIV to spread between heterosexual sex partners, according to a new study conducted in Africa.

Women in the study who used hormonal contraception had double the risk of acquiring HIV or transmitting it to their male partners as those who did not use hormonal contraception.

While hormonal conception includes both oral contraception and injectable forms of birth control, the findings were most pronounced for women using injectables, like Depo-Provera, the study said.

"These findings have important implications for family planning and HIV-1 prevention programs, especially in settings with high HIV-1 prevalence", said study researcher Jared Baeten, of the University of Washington. HIV-1 is the prevalent subtype of HIV.

"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.

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