STD risk high with injected contraceptive
Women who use the injected contraceptive Depo-Provera are at a higher risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.
Women who use the injected contraceptive Depo-Provera are at a higher risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases
. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health, University of North Carolina and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that this holds true even when behaviour and other factors are taken into account. It is possible that Depo-Provera itself causes a susceptibility to STDs. According to the study, young women had a higher risk of STDs but using Depo-Provera added to the risk. Depo-Provera or its generic equivalents are being increasingly used in Africa, where STDs such as the AIDS virus are very common. Women who use Depo-Provera to prevent pregnancy should take extra care if they are in relationships in which either they or their partner have sex with other people. Like birth control pills
, Depo-Provera provides no protection from an infection such as syphilis, gonorrhea or the AIDS virus. The risk can also be reduced if sexually active women, who are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, limit their number of partners. The researchers studied 800 women of ages 15 to 45 using two clinics in the Baltimore area - one urban, serving mostly black women, and one suburban with a client base of white, college-age women, all single. The women chose whether they wanted to use Depo-Provera, contraceptive pills, or a non-hormonal contraceptive method. After a year, 45 women suffered from chlamydia or gonorrhea. The women using the injected contraceptive were three times more likely to have one of the STDs. Women taking the pills did not have a higher risk of getting an STD. Researchers calculated the risk of infection by women-years, that is - how many women became infected in the space of a year. The risk for women taking oral contraceptives was 3.9 infections per 100 women-years, 13.7 per 100 women-years in the Depo-Provera group and 6 per 100 women-years in the women using condoms, diaphragms or other non-drug birth control methods. Looking at the numbers, it appeared that the pill group had the lowest risk, but when other factors were considered their risk of STDs was about the same as the women who did not use hormonal contraception.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases,
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