KEMRI Investigating Depo-Provera Contraceptive's Link to HIV

  • A patient receiving an injection The Star
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) is probing whether using injectable contraception to prevent pregnancy increases the risk of contracting HIV.

    Past studies suggest that the popular Depo-Provera could double the risk of a woman getting HIV or passing it to a HIV-negative partner.

    KEMRI is following 900 women in Kisumu to look if the ingredients in the drug are responsible for the increase in HIV infection, or if it has to do with the sexual behaviour of its users.

    Director at Family Health International 360 Timothy Mastro

    Dr Timothy Mastro, a member of the overall study committee, on Wednesday announced that they had concluded the survey and that findings will be released in 2019.

    We will release our findings in mid-next year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) will then convene a committee of experts, which will make recommendations based on the findings,” he told journalists at the ongoing International Family Planning Conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

    The KEMRI research is part of the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) study which followed a total of 7,830 women using contraceptives in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, and eSwatini.

    Mastro added that the results of this randomised trial would provide the highest quality scientific evidence on hormonal contraceptives and HIV.

    Participants were randomly assigned to use any of the three contraceptive methods: Depo-Provera (injectable), the implant and the intrauterine device.

    "The study will assess whether the risk of acquiring HIV is different with the use of Depo, Implants and the IUD," he explained.

    Injectables are the most popular contraceptives in Kenya, used by about two million women (48 percent of women on contraception).

    A staff at KEMRI conducting tests