Hormonal contraception and HIV-1 transmission

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2011 Mar;65(3):302-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2010.00930.x. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Safe and effective contraceptive choices are essential for women with HIV-1 infection and at risk for HIV-1 infection. Epidemiological and laboratory-based studies suggest that hormonal contraception may influence HIV-1 transmission. Several large studies in high-risk populations indicate that hormonal contraceptive use may modestly increase the risk of HIV-1 acquisition. In addition, HIV-1-infected users of hormonal contraceptives may be more infectious to their uninfected partners, although no studies have directly measured HIV-1 transmission risk from women to men. However, several studies failed to demonstrate a link between contraceptive use and HIV-1 acquisition or transmission, and interpretation of many studies limited by methodological considerations, such as infrequent measurements of contraceptive exposure and HIV-1 status. As a result, many questions remain, and high-quality studies remain needed. It is clear that hormonal contraceptives are not protective against HIV-1 infection and that dual protection with condoms should be the goal for women using hormonal contraception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cervix Uteri / anatomy & histology
  • Cervix Uteri / immunology
  • Condoms
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Vagina / anatomy & histology
  • Vagina / immunology
  • Vagina / microbiology


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal