Contraceptive jab could increase HIV risk

Women having contraceptive injections could be increasing their risk of HIV, according to new research.

A study by a team from the University of California at Berkeley, US, published in the journal Lancet Infectious Disease, noted that there can be as much as a 40 per cent increase in the risk of HIV for women using a birth control injection, compared to a pill.

The researchers maintained however, that the risk level of HIV depends entirely on the individual and their susceptibility to the disease.

Using analysis pooled from results of 12 observational trials the researchers noted there was a raised risk but not enough to warrant the withdrawal of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), a common contraceptive for women.

Lauren Ralph, epidemiologist, said: "Banning DMPA would leave many women without immediate access to alternative, effective contraceptive options.

"This is likely to lead to more unintended pregnancies, and because childbirth remains life-threatening in many developing countries, could increase overall deaths among women."

The US-based research comes after a study by the University of Oxford, in the UK, found that the HIV virus was evolving into a much milder form.