Birth Control Shot linked to HIV Risk

Recent studies show a strong link between the Depo-Provera birth control shot and the chances of being infected with HIV. Now, medical experts are asking the FDA to add the risk of HIV as a warning to the birth control’s labels. Dangerous drug lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm explain this risk and the recent studies confirming it.

There are currently nearly 30 studies published on the Depro-Provera birth control shot. Researchers at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley examined all Depo studies in a meta-analysis, publishing the results in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Researchers found that Depo-Provera increased the risk of HIV infection by about 40%. It is important to note that this study was based on past data of women using different types of birth controls and HIV rates. This was not a new study based on new patients.

The risk of HIV infection was strongest among women who engage in commercial sex, injectable drug users, and those with known HIV-positive partners.

Depo-Provera is a shot that provides protection against pregnancy for three months at a time using the hormone progestin. In many parts of the world, this type of birth control is critically important as the only long-acting and discreet options available to women.

Thus, medical experts are calling on the FDA to add the risk of HIV to Depo’s labels, so women are aware and take precautions. Women need to have informed conversations with their healthcare providers about the known and unknown risks of contraceptives and all the options available to them.

Decades of Research

In 2012 the CDC acknowledged that several studies suggested the link between progestin-only birth control shots and increased HIV risk. These studies are not meant to guide individuals, but to help women make the best practical decisions for their health and wellbeing. Frankly, this information is most relevant for women where Depo is one of very few contraceptive options and where HIV rates are high – namely, East and South Africa.

American women using Depo should know that there is data suggesting this shot increases HIV acquisition risk. Women who do not know their partners’ health status, have many partners, or have an HIV-positive partner should consider switching their contraceptive method, preferably to condoms. There are many contraceptive options in the U.S. that do not have the increased risk of HIV; Depo-Provera should be the last-resort choice for at-risk populations.

The link between Depo and HIV has been a topic of research for over 20 years by agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Some animal studies have shown that progestin can cause vaginal inflation and the suppression of T-Cell activation, which protect the body’s immune system. T-Cells are also the same cells that are infected and attacked by HIV.

Nearly two dozen American doctors and scientists have petitioned the FDA to add language to Depo’s labelling that warns of the risk of HIV. Depo’s labels currently say that the shot does not prevent HIV, without any further warning. The petitioners highlighted one particular study which found that women using a different form of birth control shots, Noristerat, did not have similar HIV infection increases. This rules out the possibility that women who receive contraceptive shots were less likely to take measures to prevent HIV.

Our team of dangerous drug attorneys is currently investigating cases of serious illness from contraceptives like Depo-Provera and Mirena. We provide free legal consultations to concerned individuals and their families nationwide. We have been fighting against drug companies for 30 years and have won millions for our injured clients.

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