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Progesterone Injection Contraception increases risk of HIV

Read the original article here: http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2012/03/02/birth-control-hiv-link

A study published in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases showed that women using hormonal birth control, especially progesterone infections, are twice as likely to be infected with, or transmit, HIV.

Even so, when the WHO held a meeting in Geneva consisting of no less than 75 International experts, the decision was still that the evidence is inconclusive.

Former AIDS adviser to UNICEF Paula Donovan then came out to say that WHO is violating the rights of women by withholding the information.

Scientifically speaking, progesterone thins the vaginal wall and makes it more susceptible to not only HIV but also Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.

I brought this issue up for 2 reasons:

1. To inform women who are on Progesterone Injections as contraception of this potential risk. So to all women on Progesterone Injections out there, remember it is even more crucial for you to always practice safe sex. Always use protection. See your doctor immediately if you develop any symptoms.

2. To illustrate how grey things in the medical community really are. I get many questions from people expecting a cut and dried, black and white answer. However, medicine is not that way. Scientific studies, expert committees, scientific theory and individuals can all have differing views on the same topic. So you can see that if someone poses the question ‘Do women who use Progesterone Injection as contraception have a higher risk of getting infected with HIV?’ it would be so difficult for me to answer. There is no Yes or No answer.

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About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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3 Comments

  1. Hydroquinone which is a strong skin bleaching substance has been reported to have caused serious and severe skin problems and disorders. Products with high levels of this substance are thus unsafe to use and has been prohibited in many countries

    • David Bowie! You’re alive!

      Yes I agree with you that Hydroquinone is a strong substance and in Singapore can only be issued with a doctor’s prescription. The strongest concentration available here is 5%.

      Can you share with us which countries have banned it? So that we can all benefit from the shared knowledge. Thanks!

  2. Hi, Dr Tan.

    This is a very interesting issue which really raises eyebrows. Why only progesterone injections and not pills or other forms of the contraceptive is still a wonder which will hopefully be discovered by further studies soon.

    The same question struck me after reading another related article. Recent investigations show that progesterone injections might raise the risk of breast cancer in women too. This risk heightens if a family member had the disease, or those who are nulliparous (those who haven’t had any childbirth). Good news, though – this risk decreases and eventually subsides within months after stopping the injection.

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