By Shahista Namale
A large clinical research study conducted in four African countries has found no significant difference in the risk of HIV infection among women using one of three highly effective, reversible contraceptive methods.
The results of the ECHO Study (Evidence for Contraceptive Options in HIV Outcomes)—a trial designed look at whether three specific contraceptive methods (DMPA-IM, the Jadelle Implant, and the Copper IUD) impact women’s HIV risk—were published on June 13, 2019.
The study was carried out in four countries with settings of high HIV incidence; Eswatini, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. A total of 7829 sexually active HIV-negative women aged 16 to 35 years, who wanted to use a modern method of contraception were enrolled and were randomly assigned to one of the three methods.
The study results released in South Africa indicated that there’s no significant difference in the risk of HIV infection among women using one of the three contraceptive methods.
Dr. Betty Nakazzi Kyadondo director family health National population council said that its good news for women especially here in Uganda to continue using the contraceptives with confidence adding that more methods should be put on the ground to curb the infections.
“Actually the latest family planning 2020 report shows that about 2.8 million women aged 15-49 are currently using modern contraceptives which is a good indicator that at least by the time ECHO results came in, Uganda was already making impressive strides,” said Dr. Kyadondo.
She said women need detailed information about contraceptive options in order to make an informed choice.
While the claim was on DMPA contraceptive, the ECHO study decided to study all other contraceptive methods.
The study showed that each method had high levels of safety and effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, with all methods well-accepted by the women using them, something that brought a smile to many women across the world not leaving out Uganda.
These results actually make it easy for women and girls to have a broad choice of effective contraceptive methods that empower them to make informed decisions about their own bodies including if and when to have children,” said Dr. James Kiarie, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO in a press release.
The landmark ECHO study was carried out by a consortium led by FHI 360, University of Washington, Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute, and the Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) at the World Health Organisation.