Whether use of various types of hormonal contraception (HC) affect risk of HIV acquisition is a critical question for women's health. For this systematic review, we identified 22 studies published by January 15, 2014 which met inclusion criteria; we classified thirteen studies as having severe methodological limitations, and nine studies as "informative but with important limitations". Overall, data do not support an association between use of oral contraceptives and increased risk of HIV acquisition. Uncertainty persists regarding whether an association exists between depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) use and risk of HIV acquisition. Most studies suggested no significantly increased HIV risk with norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN) use, but when assessed in the same study, point estimates for NET-EN tended to be larger than for DMPA, though 95% confidence intervals overlapped substantially. No data have suggested significantly increased risk of HIV acquisition with use of implants, though data were limited. No data are available on the relationship between use of contraceptive patches, rings, or hormonal intrauterine devices and risk of HIV acquisition. Women choosing progestin-only injectable contraceptives such as DMPA or NET-EN should be informed of the current uncertainty regarding whether use of these methods increases risk of HIV acquisition, and like all women at risk of HIV, should be empowered to access and use condoms and other HIV preventative measures. Programs, practitioners, and women urgently need guidance on how to maximize health with respect to avoiding both unintended pregnancy and HIV given inconclusive or limited data for certain HC methods.
Keywords: DMPA; HIV acquisition; Hormonal contraception; Injectable contraception; Oral contraception; Systematic review.
Published by Elsevier Inc.