August 10, 2016
Written by Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO)
This report originally appeared on ECHO’s website.
More than 18,000 people returned to Durban for the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) last week. The ECHO Study team used this opportunity to engage with stakeholders, provide updates on the trial’s progress and discuss the ECHO Study’s role in the ongoing search for clarity on the risks and benefits of hormonal contraception (HC) for women at risk of HIV.
One Woman, Many Choices: An interactive learning and strategy session on hormonal contraception and HIV
Advocates, researchers and policy-makers were among the capacity crowd that attended this session at the Research Literacy Zone session in the Global Village, which was convened by AVAC, CHANGE and the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa. Sinazo Pato of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (RHI) and the ECHO Study provided an update on the study, reporting that in early July, ECHO reached the milestone of enrolling the first 1,000 women. So far study retention is high, and few women have refused their randomly assigned methods. Chelsea Polis of the Guttmacher Institute presented the methodology that she and her colleagues used to conduct an updated systematic review of the data on HC use and HIV acquisition.
Advocates spoke of the importance of clarifying the potential relationship between DMPA use and HIV acquisition so that women at risk of HIV infection can make informed choices about the contraceptives they use. Expressing continued support for the ECHO trial, advocates also emphasised the need to advocate for expansion of the mix of contraceptive methods available to African women while they await more conclusive answers about HC use and the risk of HIV infection.