A research was conducted in South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, and Eswatini (as these are the countries whose inhabitants more prone to get HIV), to find out whether the 25-year-old myth was true or not.
Small researches conducted in the area suggested that modern birth control procedures like DMPA, Levonorgestrel implant, a copper-bearing IUD can cause HIV infections in women. A recent study published in Lancet shows that these methods are not only effective in what they do i.e. preventing pregnancy but also are safe to use.
Dr. James Kiarie, a coordinator for Human Reproduction Team at WHO, also gave a statement, supporting the use of this contraceptive method. He says that these modern birth control procedures are there to empower women.
They help them become more independent by giving the opportunity to decide a very important part of their future. These methods give them the power to decide when to conceive and when not.
What was the research that supports these procedures?
People have had their apprehensions regarding these methods for many decades. There were wage studies that suggested a connection between HIV infections and these birth control methods.
But recently a study was conducted by ECHO, comprising of a large number of women from HIV prone regions, which gave concrete evidence.
They took 7829 women from the African countries mentioned earlier. The age of these women was between twenty-five to thirty-five years, all HIV negative. The women who took part in the experiment were acknowledged and appreciated and by WHO.
During this experiment, the women who were the part it received lots of free services from the organizers. Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases were given to them.
They also were given a briefing on how to prevent HIV and how to keep a check on yourself in case if you ever get it.
What are the results?
Out of the large number (7829 women) of women, using the above listed procedures to prevent pregnancy, only 397 got the infection. There was not a big difference in the number of women, using different procedures, using the treatment.
The 143 women were those who used DMPA, 116 were the one who used levonorgestrel implant and 138 who were victims of HIV, were using Copper bearing IUD. So there was no demographical difference that showed that among them a single procedure was causing it.
The Executive Director at Professor Helen Rees said that their findings are a great development in the process but we still have to be concerned. The reason is this confirms the high rate of HIV infection in the women of this region of Africa.
His concern is valid as all these women were kept under observation and were receiving all the help to prevent HIV infections.
New researches on the birth control safety are being published every day to make the procedures more accessible and reliable for women across the globe especially in the developing countries.