DMPA and HIV: What advocates need to know

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For decades there has been mixed evidence on the risk of HIV infection and the use of progestogen-only* injectable contraceptive products containing depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). DMPA is a contraceptive drug that is injected into a muscle (intramuscular, or IM) or under the skin (subcutaneous, or SC). Some studies suggest that women using DMPA injectable contraception might be more likely to get HIV if they are exposed to the virus. However, other studies do not show this association.

In March 2017, based on a review of available evidence, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new guidance on hormonal contraception and HIV for women at high risk of HIV. The guidance conveys that women at high risk of HIV can use progestogen-only injectables, including products that contain DMPA-IM, DMPA-SC, or norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN), because the advantages of these methods generally outweigh the possible increased risk of HIV acquisition.