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1.  Association of the Position of the Copper T 380A as Determined by the Ultrasonography Following its Insertion in the Immediate Postpartum Period with the Subsequent Complications: An Observational Study 
Incorrectly placed copper T 380A leads to increased contraception failure. This study aimed to find an association between the ultrasonographic position of the copper T 380A in the immediate postpartum period and the adverse effects observed during the period of 6 months after its insertion.
This descriptive study was carried out in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology of a tertiary-care-center of India from September 2011 to February 2013. The women eligible for immediate postpartum copper T 380A insertion with previous regular menstrual cycles for at least 6 months before the current pregnancy, and those who were willing for follow-up visits and had easy accessibility to the hospital, were recruited. A clinical evaluation and ultrasonographic assessment of Intra-Uterine-Contraceptive-Device (IUCD) after insertion was carried out after enrolment. The complications (expulsions, vaginal discharge, menstrual irregularity, and lower abdominal pain) were subsequently assessed during a 6-month follow-up period. The primary objective was the ultrasonographic assessment of the placement of IUCD immediately after insertion. The incidence of complications and their association with the presence of malposition was also studied.
Hundred patients were evaluated during the study period. Forty-four (44 %) women were found to have malpositioned IUCDs on ultrasonographic evaluation done following insertion. The complications among the IUCD users included menstrual irregularity (27.17 %), pain in lower abdomen (20.65 %), vaginal discharge (7.6 %), and expulsions (9.7 %). The IUCD expulsions, menstrual irregularities, and pain were significantly more in patients with malpositions (p < 0.05).
Malpositioning of IUCD is common immediately following insertion and is significantly associated with more complications during the follow-up.
PMCID: PMC4199436  PMID: 25368459
IUCD; Malposition; Expulsion; Menstrual irregularity; Contraception
2.  An all time low utilization of intrauterine contraceptive device as a birth spacing method- a qualitative descriptive study in district Rawalpindi, Pakistan 
Reproductive Health  2013;10:10.
Pakistan was among the leading countries in south Asia which started the family planning program in late 50s, forecasting the need to control the population. Despite this early intervention, fertility rate has declined but slower in Pakistan as compared to most other Asian countries. Pakistan has almost a stagnant contraceptive prevalence rate for more than a decade now, perhaps owing to the inadequate performance of the family planning programs. The provision and use of long term contraceptives such as IUCD has always been low (around 2%) and associated with numerous issues. Married women who want to wait before having another child, or end childbearing altogether, are not using any long term method of contraception.
A descriptive qualitative study was conducted from May to July 2012, to explore and understand the perceptions of women regarding the use of IUCDs and to understand the challenges/issues at the service provider’s end. Six FGDs with community women and 12 in-depth interviews were conducted with family planning providers. The data was analyzed using the Qualitative Content Analysis approach.
The study revealed that the family planning clients are reluctant to use IUCDs because of a number of myths and misconceptions associated with the method. They have reservations about the provider’s capability and quality of care at the facility. Private health providers are not motivated and are reluctant to provide the IUCDs because of inadequate counseling skills, lack of competence and improper supporting infrastructure. Government programs either do not have enough supplies or trained staff to promote the IUCD utilization.
Besides a well-designed community awareness campaign, providers’ communication and counseling skills have to be enhanced, as these are major contributing factors in IUCD acceptance. Ongoing training of all family planning service providers in IUCD insertion is very important, along with strengthening of their services.
PMCID: PMC3572420  PMID: 23394188
Contraceptive prevalence rate; Family planning; IUCD; Myths & Misconceptions
3.  Rates of IUCD discontinuation and its associated factors among the clients of a social franchising network in Pakistan 
BMC Women's Health  2012;12:8.
Modern Intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is very safe, highly effective reversible and inexpensive family planning method which offers 5-10 years of protection against pregnancy. The contraceptive use in Pakistan has been merely 30% for over a decade with IUCD being the least used method. Higher discontinuation rates are documented in developing countries; however no such data is available for Pakistan. Marie Stopes Society (MSS) established a social franchise outlets network branded as 'SURAJ' (Sun) in Pakistan to provide quality family planning services. This study attempts to determine IUCD discontinuation rates and its associated risk factors. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, a cross-sectional study was conducted with 3000 clients who availed IUCD services from Suraj provider 6, 12 and 24 month back,. Data were analyzed in SPSS 17.0; adjusted prevalence ratios were calculated to see associations between discontinuation and its risk factors.
Case presentation
We found that 22.7% of the IUCD acceptors experienced some health problem; while the overall discontinuation rate was 18.9% with average time of usage of 7.4 (SD ± 5.8) months before discontinuation. Half of them showed health concerns (49.8%); of which a majority (70.2%) returned to Suraj provider for IUCD removal. Women living in Punjab, residing at a travelling time of 30-60 minutes and no previous use of contraceptive are more likely to discontinue IUCD. However, among total women 81.7% still expressed willingness to avail IUCD services from Suraj provider in future, if needed.
The findings suggest a need for training the providers and field workers to prevent early discontinuation of IUCD among the Suraj clients and by addressing the health concerns through proper counseling, continued follow-up and immediate medical aid/referral in case of complications.
PMCID: PMC3337819  PMID: 22458444
Intra-uterine contraceptive device; Clients' satisfaction; Contraception; Family planning counseling; Social franchising
4.  Factors associated with utilization of long acting and permanent contraceptive methods among married women of reproductive age in Mekelle town, Tigray region, north Ethiopia 
Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Total Fertility Rate of Ethiopia is 5.4 children per women, population growth rate is estimated to be 2.7% per year and contraceptive prevalence rate is only 15% while the unmet need for family planning is 34%. Overall awareness of Family Planning methods is high, at 87%. The prevalence of long acting and permanent contraceptive methods (LAPMs) in Tigray region was very low which accounts for 0.1% for implants and no users for intra-uterine contraceptive device (IUCD) and female sterilization. Moreover almost all modern contraceptive use in Ethiopia is dependent on short acting contraceptive methods. The objective of this study was to assess factors associated with utilization of long acting and permanent contraceptive methods (LAPM) among married women of reproductive age group in Mekelle town.
A cross sectional community based survey was conducted from March 9-20, 2011. Multistage sample technique was used to select the participants for the quantitative methods whereas purposive sampling was used for the qualitative part of the study. Binary descriptive statistics and multiple variable regressions were done.
The study consisted of quantitative and qualitative data. From the quantitative part of the study the response rate of the study was 95.6%. Of the qualitative part two FGDs were conducted for each married women and married men. 64% of the married women heard about LAPMs. More than half (53.6%) of the married women had negative attitude towards practicing of LAPMs. The overall prevalence of LAPMs use was 12.3% however; there were no users for female or male sterilization. The main reason cited by the majority of the married women for not using LAPMs was using another method of contraception 360 (93.3%). Mothers who had high knowledge were 8 times more likely to use LAPMs as compared with those who had low knowledge (AOR = 7.9, 95% CI of (3.1, 18.3). Mothers who had two or more pregnancies were 3 times more likely to use LAPM as compared with those who had one pregnancy (AOR = 2.7, 95% CI of (1.4, 5.1).
A significant amount of the participants had low knowledge on permanent contraceptive particularly vasectomy. More than half (53.6%) of married women had negative attitude towards practicing of LAMPs. Few of married women use female sterilization and none use of female sterilization and or vasectomy. Positive knowledge of LAMPs, women who had two and above pregnancies and women who do not want to have additional child were significantly associated. Information education communication should focus on alleviating factors hinder from practicing of LAPMs.
PMCID: PMC3297532  PMID: 22280163
5.  Determinants of Method Switching among Social Franchise Clients Who Discontinued the Use of Intrauterine Contraceptive Device 
Introduction. Women who do not switch to alternate methods after contraceptive discontinuation, for reasons other than the desire to get pregnant or not needing it, are at obvious risk for unplanned pregnancies or unwanted births. This paper examines the factors that influence women to switch from Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) to other methods instead of terminating contraceptive usage altogether. Methods. The data used for this study comes from a larger cross-sectional survey conducted in nine (9) randomly selected districts of Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan, during January 2011. Using Stata 11.2, we analyzed data on 333 women, who reported the removal of IUCDs due to reasons other than the desire to get pregnant. Results. We found that 39.9% of the women do not switch to another method of contraception within one month after IUCD discontinuation. Use of contraception before IUCD insertion increases the odds for method switching by 2.26 times after removal. Similarly, postremoval follow-up by community health worker doubles (OR = 2.0) the chances of method switching. Compared with women who received free IUCD service (via voucher scheme), the method switching is 2.01 times higher among women who had paid for IUCD insertion. Conclusion. To increase the likelihood of method switching among IUCD discontinuers this study emphasizes the need for postremoval client counseling, follow-up by healthcare provider, improved choices to a wider range of contraceptives for poor clients, and user satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC4630392  PMID: 26576454
6.  Elective Surgical Removal of Migrated Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices From Within the Peritoneal Cavity: A Comparison Between Open and Laparoscopic Removal 
This study supports the use of laparoscopic surgery for the elective removal of migrated intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD) from within the peritoneal cavity.
Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) comprise the most popular form of reversible contraception. Uterine perforation is a rare but potentially serious complication associated with their use. We examined all reported cases of elective surgical removal of peritoneally migrated IUCDs, to compare laparoscopic and open approaches, and to identify beneficial surgical techniques.
MEDLINE and Embase were searched using the following medical subject heading terms: (IUCD or IUD or IUS or intrauterine device or intrauterine devices, copper or intrauterine devices, medicated) AND (migrated or displaced or foreign-body migration or intrauterine device migration) AND (peritoneal or peritoneal cavity). The Cochrane Library was searched using the terms IUCD, IUD, IUS, and intrauterine device. Additional studies were identified by manually searching the reference lists of the studies found through database search. Studies were included irrespective of language or publication type.
We identified 129 cases, reported in 30 studies. In the majority of cases (93.0% [120/129]), surgery was attempted laparoscopically; however 22.5% (27/120) of surgeries were converted to open operations, giving an overall rate of open surgery of 27.9% (36/129). This systematic review supports the use of laparoscopic surgery for elective removal of migrated IUCDs from the peritoneal cavity. With complications rarely reported, it is also likely the procedure could be undertaken in an outpatient setting. The use of intraoperative adjuncts (ie, cystoscopy) and the rate of conversion to open surgery are influenced by the site of the IUCD. Therefore, accurate preoperative localization of the device is advised.
PMCID: PMC3481248  PMID: 23477171
IUCD; IUD; Laparoscopic surgery; Systematic review
7.  An Unusual Presentation of Perforated Intrauterine Contraceptive Device 
Contraception is an essential component of sexual and reproductive health issues, especially in Nigeria, which has a high fertility rate. The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) is one of the most frequently used contraceptive methods. Countless researches have helped establish the fact that an intrauterine device IUCD is a safe and effective contraceptive method for most women regardless of their health status. However, many complications associated with the IUCD have also been described. In this report, we present an unusual complication of the IUCD in which the device perforated the uterus and migrated to the ileum, with the IUCD string still visible per vaginum.
PMCID: PMC3728878  PMID: 23919205
Ileum; Intrauterine contraceptive device; Perforation; String; Unusual; Uterus presentation
8.  Women’s experience with postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device use in India 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:32.
Postpartum intrauterine contraceptive devices (PPIUCD) are increasingly included in many national postpartum family planning (PPFP) programs, but satisfaction of women who have adopted PPIUCD and complication rates need further characterization. Our specific aims were to describe women who accepted PPIUCD, their experience and satisfaction with their choice, and complication of expulsion or infection.
We studied 2,733 married women, aged 15–49 years, who received PPIUCD in sixteen health facilities, located in eight states and the national capital territory of India, at the time of IUCD insertion and six weeks later. The satisfaction of women who received IUCD during the postpartum period and problems and complications following insertion were assessed using standardized questionnaires.
Mean (SD) age of women accepting PPIUCD was 24 (4) years. Over half of women had parity of one, and nearly one-quarter had no formal schooling. Nearly all women (99.6%) reported that they were satisfied with IUCD at the time of insertion and 92% reported satisfaction at the six-week follow-up visit. The rate of expulsion of IUCD was 3.6% by six weeks of follow-up. There were large variations in rates of problems and complications that were largely attributable to the individual hospitals implementing the study.
Women who receive PPIUCD show a high level of satisfaction with this choice of contraception, and the rates of expulsion were low enough such that the benefits of contraceptive protection outweigh the potential inconvenience of needing to return for care for that subset of women.
PMCID: PMC4062773  PMID: 24755312
Contraception; Complications; Family planning; Intrauterine contraceptive device; Postpartum
9.  Intention to use long acting and permanent contraceptive methods and factors affecting it among married women in Adigrat town, Tigray, Northern Ethiopia 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:24.
Despite the increase in contraceptive use worldwide over the last decade, there is still discrepancy in the need to limit birth and utilization of modern contraceptives specifically long acting and permanent contraceptive methods in sub-Saharan Africa including Ethiopia. Intention to use long acting and permanent methods of contraception is an important indicator of the potential demand for family planning services.
To assess intention to use long acting and permanent contraceptive methods (LAPMs) and identifying associated factors among currently married women in Adigrat town.
A community based cross sectional study design complemented with a qualitative method was conducted in three selected Kebeles of Adigrat town. A total of 594 study subjects were interviewed. Systematic random sampling method was used to select study subjects. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS version 16. Open code software version was used to facilitate coding of the qualitative data. Factors associated with intention were identified using logistic regression model and content analysis was done on the qualitative data.
Intention to use LAPMs was 48.4%. Intention to use LAPMs was higher among women who knew at least one of LAPMs (AOR = 4.7, 95% CI = 1.58, 14.01) and women who do not want to have birth within the next 2 years (AOR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.22, 3.13). Intention to use LAMPs was less among women who perceive poor support from their husbands (AOR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.09, 0.45) and those who perceive LAPMs are harmful for the womb (AOR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.14, 0.41). Similarly, participants in the focus group discussion have expressed their concern on the return of fertility after using implants or IUCD as well as insertion and removal procedures.
The magnitude of intention to use LAPMs in the study area was low. The main limiting factors were fear of side effect, infertility after LAPMs use, knowledge on LAPMs and perception on partner’s support of LAPMs use. To further promote the use of LAPMs addressing associated misconceptions through effective communication strategies and involving spouses in family planning programs is essential.
PMCID: PMC4007570  PMID: 24628764
Long acting and permanent contraceptives; Intention to use; Adigrat town; Ethiopia
10.  Clinical Outcome of Postplacental Copper T 380A Insertion in Women Delivering by Caesarean Section 
Introduction: Short interconception period after caesarean section and its associated risk of increased morbidity, mortality and surgical interventions could be avoided by postplacental IUCD insertion during the procedure. Despite the safety reports on intracaesarean IUCD insertion, obstetricians are still hesitant to extend the benefit of this long acting reversible contraception to women undergoing operative delivery.
Objective: To study the clinical outcome (safety, efficacy, expulsion and continuation rates) of postplacental Copper T 380A insertion in primiparous women undergoing caesarean section.
Materials and Methods: This study was a prospective observational study, carried out in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Safdarjung hospital, which is a tertiary care hospital of Northern India. Primiparous women who delivered by caesarean section over a period of six months (July 2012 to December 2012), willing for postplacental intracaesarean IUCD insertion, and willing to comply with the study protocol, were recruited for the study. All these subjects fulfilled the WHO Standard Medical Criteria for PPIUCD insertion; follow up visits were scheduled at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months.
Results: A total of 300 primiparous women underwent postpartum intracaesarean insertion of Copper T 380A. The mean age of women included in the study was 23.12 ± 2.42 years. Most common postinsertion complication observed in the immediate postoperative period was febrile morbidity (2%). Majority of women (94.33%) had hospital stay of less than 4 days. The common adverse events observed during follow-up of 12 months were menstrual complaints, excessive vaginal discharge and persistent pelvic pain. At the end of one year, there were 16 expulsions, 21 removals, and 2 pregnancies with gross cumulative expulsion, removal, failure and continuation rates of 5.33%, 7%, 0.67% and 91%, respectively.
Conclusion: Postplacental intracaesarean Copper T 380A insertion in primiparous women is a safe and effective method of reversible contraception, with low expulsion and high continuation rates.
PMCID: PMC4225936  PMID: 25386484
Intrauterine device; Intracaesarean insertion; Postplacental insertion
11.  Factors impacting knowledge and use of long acting and permanent contraceptive methods by postpartum HIV positive and negative women in Cape Town, South Africa: a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:197.
The prevention of unintended pregnancies among HIV positive women is a neglected strategy in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Women who want to avoid unintended pregnancies can do this by using a modern contraceptive method. Contraceptive choice, in particular the use of long acting and permanent methods (LAPMs), is poorly understood among HIV-positive women. This study aimed to compare factors that influence women's choice in contraception and women's knowledge and attitudes towards the IUD and female sterilization by HIV-status in a high HIV prevalence setting, Cape Town, South Africa.
A quantitative cross-sectional survey was conducted using an interviewer-administered questionnaire amongst 265 HIV positive and 273 HIV-negative postpartum women in Cape Town. Contraceptive use, reproductive history and the future fertility intentions of postpartum women were compared using chi-squared tests, Wilcoxon rank-sum and Fisher's exact tests where appropriate. Women's knowledge and attitudes towards long acting and permanent methods as well as factors that influence women's choice in contraception were examined.
The majority of women reported that their most recent pregnancy was unplanned (61.6% HIV positive and 63.2% HIV negative). Current use of contraception was high with no difference by HIV status (89.8% HIV positive and 89% HIV negative). Most women were using short acting methods, primarily the 3-monthly injectable (Depo Provera). Method convenience and health care provider recommendations were found to most commonly influence method choice. A small percentage of women (6.44%) were using long acting and permanent methods, all of whom were using sterilization; however, it was found that poor knowledge regarding LAPMs is likely to be contributing to the poor uptake of these methods.
Improving contraceptive counselling to include LAPM and strengthening services for these methods are warranted in this setting for all women regardless of HIV status. These study results confirm that strategies focusing on increasing users' knowledge about LAPM are needed to encourage uptake of these methods and to meet women's needs for an expanded range of contraceptives which will aid in preventing unintended pregnancies. Given that HIV positive women were found to be more favourable to future use of the IUD it is possible that there may be more uptake of the IUD amongst these women.
PMCID: PMC3328250  PMID: 22424141
PMTCT; Contraception; Fertility intentions; Unintended pregnancies; HIV; IUD; Female sterilization
12.  Determinants of Intrauterine Contraceptive Device Discontinuation Among Indian Women 
To determine intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) discontinuation rate and its causes and related factors among women attending the OPD/family planning clinic in Mahila Chikitasalaya, SMS Medical College, Jaipur from January 2012 to December 2012.
387 women who had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted during the last 1–5 years were interviewed during their visits to the OPD/family planning clinic. Sociodemographic characteristics for all women were described using frequency distribution. Life tables were used to describe the proportion of women who discontinued IUD at various time intervals. The main outcome measure was IUD discontinuation.
The incidence of IUD discontinuation in the first year following insertion was 16.79 %. Approximately 31 % of the study sample continued using their devices after 5 years. The average duration of IUD use was 36 months. Of the 387 women, 56 % discontinued IUD use because of a desire to conceive, 27.7 % because of side effects, 15.36 % because of opposition from the woman’s family, and 1.5 % because they were sexually inactive. The most common side effects reported as the reasons for discontinuation were bleeding, infection, and pain. Discontinuation was inversely related to the age at insertion, the number of living children, and the sex of children. Previous contraceptive users were significantly less likely to discontinue IUD use.
The crude cumulative rate of IUD discontinuation was 16.79 % during the first year, suggesting a need to tackle the problem of discontinuation through effective educational strategies and counseling techniques. Desire to have a male child still predominates among Indian families. The average duration of IUD use in majority of the females was about 36 months (45 %), thereby fulfilling its objective of spacing between children as laid down by the WHO (2 years spacing between pregnancies). About 31 % of the women continued using IUCD even after 5 years. It is crucial to correct misconceptions and identify the lack of correct and complete information both among the providers and the acceptors, to improve the effectiveness of family planning programs.
PMCID: PMC4061341  PMID: 24966507
IUCD; Discontinuation; Sociodemographic characteristics; Family planning
13.  Bacteriological colonisation of uterine cavity: role of tailed intrauterine contraceptive device. 
Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) are thought to cause pelvic inflammatory disease by allowing vaginal bacteria to pass into the uterus along the tail of the device. In this study the uterine cavities of 22 women using an IUCD were examined by a multiple biopsy technique. All five uteruses with a tailless IUCD were sterile but 15 out of 17 with a tailed device contained bacteria. The bacteria had not reached the fundus and most were commensals. The bacteria were not introduced by insertion of the IUCD as bacteria were present in several cases long after insertion. No differences in bacterial count were found between monofilamentous and multifilamentous devices. Bacteria were cultured from only four devices, which suggested that the bacteria adhere to the endometrium and not to the device. The bacteria in the cavity represent interference by the tail with the protective mechanisms of the uterus, which explains the increase in pelvic inflammatory disease in IUCD users.
PMCID: PMC1505233  PMID: 6788128
14.  Assessment of risk for pelvic inflammatory disease in an urban sexual health population 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2000;76(6):470-473.
Further data on variables associated with presumptive PID are available as a table on the STI website.
Objectives: To determine the sexual and demographic risk factors for the acquisition of presumptive pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Methods: A retrospective, case-control study in women, who attended the Sydney Sexual Health Centre (SSHC), between April 1991 and December 1997. Logistic regression analysis was used to adjust for confounding variables.
Results: 741 women with PID and an equal number of controls were included. Cases were significantly younger than controls (p<0.001). 42% of cases were born in north or South East Asia, compared with 12% of the controls (p<0.001). The adjusted odds ratio for being born in north or South East Asia was 2.8 (95% CI 1.70–4.46), for not speaking English at home was 1.6 (95% CI 1.02–2.55), for having had previous PID was 5.9 (95% CI 3.59–9.73), and for being employed in the commercial sex industry and being born in north or South East Asia was 2.8 (95% CI 1.22–6.22). Women aged 15–19 were at considerable risk of developing PID (OR 5.3 (95% CI 2.76–10.11)). Women with previous human papillomavirus infection were significantly less likely to develop PID (OR 0.6 (95% CI 0.42–0.79)). The use of IUCDs (OR 4.5 (95% CI 2.14–9.39)), condoms (OR 1.4 (95% CI 1.03–1.87)), and not using contraception (OR 1.8 (95% CI 1.20–2.76)) was each associated with an increased risk.
Conclusions: Several measures may help to reduce the burden of PID. Women should be encouraged to delay the onset of sexual activity and IUCDs should not be used in young women. Sexual health services for women whose home language is not English, and for commercial sex workers born in north or South East Asia should be improved.
Key Words: pelvic inflammatory disease; risk factors; risk markers
PMCID: PMC1744230  PMID: 11221131
15.  Intimate Partner Violence and Depression Symptom Severity among South African Women during Pregnancy and Postpartum: Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2016;13(1):e1001943.
Violence against women by intimate partners remains unacceptably common worldwide. The evidence base for the assumed psychological impacts of intimate partner violence (IPV) is derived primarily from studies conducted in high-income countries. A recently published systematic review identified 13 studies linking IPV to incident depression, none of which were conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. To address this gap in the literature, we analyzed longitudinal data collected during the course of a 3-y cluster-randomized trial with the aim of estimating the association between IPV and depression symptom severity.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a secondary analysis of population-based, longitudinal data collected from 1,238 pregnant women during a 3-y cluster-randomized trial of a home visiting intervention in Cape Town, South Africa. Surveys were conducted at baseline, 6 mo, 18 mo, and 36 mo (85% retention). The primary explanatory variable of interest was exposure to four types of physical IPV in the past year. Depression symptom severity was measured using the Xhosa version of the ten-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. In a pooled cross-sectional multivariable regression model adjusting for potentially confounding time-fixed and time-varying covariates, lagged IPV intensity had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity (regression coefficient b = 1.04; 95% CI, 0.61–1.47), with estimates from a quantile regression model showing greater adverse impacts at the upper end of the conditional depression distribution. Fitting a fixed effects regression model accounting for all time-invariant confounding (e.g., history of childhood sexual abuse) yielded similar findings (b = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.13–1.96). The magnitudes of the coefficients indicated that a one–standard-deviation increase in IPV intensity was associated with a 12.3% relative increase in depression symptom severity over the same time period. The most important limitations of our study include exposure assessment that lacked measurement of sexual violence, which could have caused us to underestimate the severity of exposure; the extended latency period in the lagged analysis, which could have caused us to underestimate the strength of the association; and outcome assessment that was limited to the use of a screening instrument for depression symptom severity.
In this secondary analysis of data from a population-based, 3-y cluster-randomized controlled trial, IPV had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity. The estimated associations were relatively large in magnitude, consistent with findings from high-income countries, and robust to potential confounding by time-invariant factors. Intensive health sector responses to reduce IPV and improve women’s mental health should be explored.
In a population-based prospective cohort study, Alexander C. Tsai and colleagues examine bidirectional associations between intimate partner violence and depressed mood among pregnant and postpartum women living near Cape Town, South Africa.
Editors' Summary
Violence against women perpetrated by an intimate partner is a common and widespread problem. Rates of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) vary widely between countries but, globally, nearly a third of women experience IPV at some time in their life. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional violence that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes slapping, pushing or shoving, hitting with a fist or another object, and threatening or attacking a partner with a weapon; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not give consent; and emotional violence includes threatening a partner by, for example, preventing them seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV against women include physical injury and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
Studies undertaken in high-income countries have also shown an association between IPV and adverse mental health outcomes among women, such as depression (long-lasting and overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness) and suicidal behavior. However, few if any studies on the association between IPV and depression have been conducted in sub-Saharan Africa, where the rates of IPV against women are among the highest in the world. In this population-based prospective cohort study, the researchers analyze longitudinal data collected during a cluster-randomized trial that involved more than 1,200 women living in townships near Cape Town, South Africa. The primary aim of this randomized trial was to investigate whether regular visits by “mentor mothers” (women who had successfully raised children in the face of adversity) improved maternal and child health in the 3 y following the child’s birth. As part of this trial, the researchers collected data at multiple time points (longitudinal data) on women’s experiences of IPV and symptoms of depression. Here, the researchers conduct a secondary analysis of these data to estimate the association between IPV severity and depression symptom severity among women during and following pregnancy.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
During the cluster-randomized trial, the researchers asked the women about their exposure to physical IPV during the past year in surveys undertaken at baseline, 6 mo, 18 mo, and 36 mo. Depression symptom severity was also measured in the women at these time points using a version of the ten-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in the local language Xhosa; this scale is an instrument that screens for postnatal depression by asking questions about depressive symptoms experienced during the past seven days by women who have recently had a baby, such as how often they have felt sad or miserable. Statistical analyses of these data indicated that, after allowing for other factors that might affect depression symptom severity, IPV intensity had a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have arisen by chance) with depression symptom severity. That is, an increase in IPV severity among the study participants was associated with an increase in depression symptom severity over the same period. Notably, this association was bidirectional. That is, depression symptom severity also had a statistically significant association with IPV intensity.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, among women living in poor neighborhoods in Cape Town who have recently had a baby, IPV severity had a statistically significant association with depression symptom severity. The magnitude of this association was relatively large and consistent with findings from high-income countries. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by certain aspects of this study. For example, because the study participants were not asked about sexual violence, the severity of IPV exposure may be underestimated. Nevertheless, these findings—in particular, the demonstration that the association between IPV and depression is bilateral—have important policy and programmatic implications for women’s health in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, because IPV and depression may be intertwined in a vicious cycle, with IPV increasing the risk of future depression and depression increasing the risk of future victimization, multi-component interventions that combine a broad-based package of services (for example, provision of legal aid, transitional housing, and childcare support) with interventions designed to treat depression (for example cognitive-behavioral therapy) may be needed to reduce IPV and improve women’s mental health.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at
A PLOS Medicine Research Article by Devries et al. reviews the evidence from high-income countries for an association between IPV and depression
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence and on depression (some information in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about intimate partner violence, including some personal stories, and detailed information about depression
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about intimate partner violence and links to further resources
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence and about depression (in English and Spanish)
More information about the "mentor mother" trial is available
PMCID: PMC4718639  PMID: 26784110
16.  Feasibility, Yield, and Cost of Active Tuberculosis Case Finding Linked to a Mobile HIV Service in Cape Town, South Africa: A Cross-sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(8):e1001281.
Katharina Kranzer and colleagues investigate the operational characteristics of an active tuberculosis case-finding service linked to a mobile HIV testing unit that operates in underserviced areas in Cape Town, South Africa.
The World Health Organization is currently developing guidelines on screening for tuberculosis disease to inform national screening strategies. This process is complicated by significant gaps in knowledge regarding mass screening. This study aimed to assess feasibility, uptake, yield, treatment outcomes, and costs of adding an active tuberculosis case-finding program to an existing mobile HIV testing service.
Methods and Findings
The study was conducted at a mobile HIV testing service operating in deprived communities in Cape Town, South Africa. All HIV-negative individuals with symptoms suggestive of tuberculosis, and all HIV-positive individuals regardless of symptoms were eligible for participation and referred for sputum induction. Samples were examined by microscopy and culture. Active tuberculosis case finding was conducted on 181 days at 58 different sites. Of the 6,309 adults who accessed the mobile clinic, 1,385 were eligible and 1,130 (81.6%) were enrolled. The prevalence of smear-positive tuberculosis was 2.2% (95% CI 1.1–4.0), 3.3% (95% CI 1.4–6.4), and 0.4% (95% CI 1.4 015–6.4) in HIV-negative individuals, individuals newly diagnosed with HIV, and known HIV, respectively. The corresponding prevalence of culture-positive tuberculosis was 5.3% (95% CI 3.5–7.7), 7.4% (95% CI 4.5–11.5), 4.3% (95% CI 2.3–7.4), respectively. Of the 56 new tuberculosis cases detected, 42 started tuberculosis treatment and 34 (81.0%) completed treatment. The cost of the intervention was US$1,117 per tuberculosis case detected and US$2,458 per tuberculosis case cured. The generalisability of the study is limited to similar settings with comparable levels of deprivation and TB and HIV prevalence.
Mobile active tuberculosis case finding in deprived populations with a high burden of HIV and tuberculosis is feasible, has a high uptake, yield, and treatment success. Further work is now required to examine cost-effectiveness and affordability and whether and how the same results may be achieved at scale.
Editors' Summary
In 2010, 8.8 million people developed active tuberculosis—a contagious bacterial infection—and 1.4 million people died from the disease. Most of these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries and a quarter were in HIV-positive individuals—people who are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, are particularly susceptible to tuberculosis because of their weakened immune system. Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is spread in airborne droplets when people with the disease cough or sneeze. Its characteristic symptoms are a persistent cough, unintentional weight loss, hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the lungs), fever, and night sweats. Diagnostic tests for tuberculosis include sputum smear microscopy (microscopic analysis of mucus brought up from the lungs by coughing) and culture (growth) of M. tuberculosis from sputum samples. Tuberculosis can be cured by taking several powerful antibiotics daily for at least 6 months.
Why Was This Study Done?
To improve tuberculosis control, active disease must be diagnosed quickly and treated immediately. Passive tuberculosis case finding, which relies on people seeking medical help because they feel unwell, delays the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis and increases M. tuberculosis transmission. By contrast, active tuberculosis case finding—where health workers seek out and diagnose individuals with TB who have not sought care on their own initiative—has the potential to reduce tuberculosis transmission by improving case detection. The World Health Organization (WHO), which already recommends active tuberculosis case finding in HIV-infected individuals as part of its HIV/TB “Three I's” strategy, is currently developing guidelines to inform the design of national tuberculosis screening strategies based on the local prevalence of HIV and TB and other context-specific factors that affect how many individuals need to be screened to identify each additional new tuberculosis case (the “yield” of active case finding). Large gaps in our knowledge about mass-screening strategies are complicating the development of these guidelines so, in this observational prospective study, the researchers assess the feasibility, uptake, yield, treatment outcomes, and costs of adding an active tuberculosis case-finding program to an existing mobile HIV testing service in South Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
All HIVnegative adults with symptoms characteristic of tuberculosis and all HIV-positive adults regardless of symptoms who attended a mobile HIV testing service operating in deprived communities in ape Town, South Africa between May 2009 and February 2011 were eligible for inclusion in the study. Of the 6,309 adults who accessed the mobile clinic during this period, 1,385 met these eligibility criteria, and 1,130 were enrolled and referred for the collection of sputum samples, which were analyzed by microscopy and culture. The prevalence of smear-positive tuberculosis was 2.2%, 3.3%, and 0.4% among HIV-negative study participants, newly diagnosed HIV-positive participants, and people already known to have HIV, respectively. The corresponding prevalences for smear-negative/culture-positive tuberculosis were 5.3%, 7.4%, and 4.3%, respectively (culture detects more tuberculosis cases than microscopy but, whereas microscopy can provide a result within 1–2 days, culture can take several weeks). Fifty-six new tuberculosis cases were identified, 42 people started tuberculosis treatment, and 34 completed treatment (a treatment success rate of 81%). Finally, the incremental cost of the intervention was US$1,117 per tuberculosis case detected and US$2,458 per tuberculosis case cured.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that active case finding for tuberculosis delivered through a mobile HIV testing service is feasible and has a high uptake, yield and treatment success in deprived communities with a high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis. The findings also highlight the challenges faced by mobile population-based services such as losses between tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment, which were greatest for smear-negative/culture-positive people who were more difficult to contact than smear-positive people because of the greater time lag between sputum collection and diagnosis. Because the study was done in a single city, these findings need to be confirmed in other settings—the yield of active tuberculosis case finding reported here, for example, is not likely to be generalizable to countries that rely on sputum smears for tuberculosis diagnosis. Finally, given that the incremental cost per case treated in this study is 3-fold higher than the incremental cost per case treated under passive case detection in South Africa, further studies are needed to determine the cost-effectiveness and affordability of population-based tuberculosis screening.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of tuberculosis, including information on tuberculosis and HIV, and on the Three I?s for HIV/TB (some information is in several languages); details of a 2011 meeting on the development of guidelines on screening for active tuberculosis are available
The Stop TB partnership is working towards tuberculosis elimination; patient stories about tuberculosis/HIV coinfection are available
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about tuberculosis, about tuberculosis and HIV co-infection, and about the diagnosis of tuberculosis disease
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also has detailed information on all aspects of tuberculosis
MedlinePlus has links to further information about tuberculosis (in English and Spanish)
The Tuberculosis Survival Project, which aims to raise awareness of tuberculosis and provide support for people with tuberculosis, provides personal stories about treatment for tuberculosis; the Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative also provides personal stories about dealing with tuberculosis
PMCID: PMC3413719  PMID: 22879816
17.  Prevalence of Consensual Male–Male Sex and Sexual Violence, and Associations with HIV in South Africa: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001472.
Using a method that offered complete privacy to participants, Rachel Jewkes and colleagues conducted a survey among South African men about their lifetime same-sex experiences.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
In sub-Saharan Africa the population prevalence of men who have sex with men (MSM) is unknown, as is the population prevalence of male-on-male sexual violence, and whether male-on-male sexual violence may relate to HIV risk. This paper describes lifetime prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior and male-on-male sexual violence (victimization and perpetration) in two South African provinces, socio-demographic factors associated with these experiences, and associations with HIV serostatus.
Methods and Findings
In a cross-sectional study conducted in 2008, men aged 18–49 y from randomly selected households in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces provided anonymous survey data and dried blood spots for HIV serostatus assessment. Interviews were completed in 1,737 of 2,298 (75.6%) of enumerated and eligible households. From these households, 1,705 men (97.1%) provided data on lifetime history of same-sex experiences, and 1,220 (70.2%) also provided dried blood spots for HIV testing. 5.4% (n = 92) of participants reported a lifetime history of any consensual sexual activity with another man; 9.6% (n = 164) reported any sexual victimization by a man, and 3.0% (n = 51) reported perpetrating sexual violence against another man. 85.0% (n = 79) of men with a history of consensual sex with men reported having a current female partner, and 27.7% (n = 26) reported having a current male partner. Of the latter, 80.6% (n = 21/26) also reported having a female partner. Men reporting a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior are more likely to have been a victim of male-on-male sexual violence (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.24; 95% CI 4.26–12.3), and to have perpetrated sexual violence against another man (aOR = 3.10; 95% CI 1.22–7.90). Men reporting consensual oral/anal sex with a man were more likely to be HIV+ than men with no such history (aOR = 3.11; 95% CI 1.24–7.80). Men who had raped a man were more likely to be HIV+ than non-perpetrators (aOR = 3.58; 95% CI 1.17–10.9).
In this sample, one in 20 men (5.4%) reported lifetime consensual sexual contact with a man, while about one in ten (9.6%) reported experience of male-on-male sexual violence victimization. Men who reported having had sex with men were more likely to be HIV+, as were men who reported perpetrating sexual violence towards other men. Whilst there was no direct measure of male–female concurrency (having overlapping sexual relationships with men and women), the data suggest that this may have been common. These findings suggest that HIV prevention messages regarding male–male sex in South Africa should be mainstreamed with prevention messages for the general population, and sexual health interventions and HIV prevention interventions for South African men should explicitly address male-on-male sexual violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
AIDS first emerged in the early 1980s among gay men living in the US, but it soon became clear that AIDS also infects heterosexual men and women. Now, three decades on, globally, 34 million people (two-thirds of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and half of whom are women) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and 2.5 million people become infected every year. HIV is most often spread by having unprotected sex with an infected partner, and most sexual transmission of HIV now occurs during heterosexual sex. However, 5%–10% of all new HIV infections still occur in men who have sex with men (MSM; homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have consensual sex with men). Moreover, in the concentrated HIV epidemics of high-income countries (epidemics in which the prevalence of HIV infection is more than 5% in at-risk populations such as sex workers but less than 1% in the general population), male-to-male sexual contact remains the most important transmission route, and MSM often have a higher prevalence of HIV infection than heterosexual men.
Why Was This Study Done?
By contrast to high-income countries, HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa are generalized—the prevalence of HIV infection is 1% or more in the general population. Because male-to-male sexual behavior is criminalized in many African countries and because homosexuality is widely stigmatized, little is known about the prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa. This information and a better understanding of male–female sexual concurrency (having overlapping sexual relationships with men and women) and of how male-to-male transmission contributes to generalized HIV epidemics is needed to inform the design of HIV prevention strategies for use in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, very little is known about male-on-male sexual violence. Such violence is potentially important to study because we know that male-on-female violence is associated with increased HIV risk for both victims and perpetrators. In this cross-sectional study (an investigation that measures population characteristics at a single time point), the researchers use data from a population-based household survey to investigate the lifetime prevalence of consensual male–male sexual behavior and male-on-male sexual violence (victimization and perpetration) among men in South Africa and the association of these experiences with HIV infection.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
About 1,700 adult men from randomly selected households in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa self-completed a survey that included questions about their lifetime history of same-sex experiences using audio-enhanced personal digital assistants, a data collection method that provided a totally private and anonymous environment for the disclosure of illegal and stigmatized behavior; 1,220 of them also provided dried blood spots for HIV testing. Ninety-two men (5.4% of the participants) reported consensual sexual activity (for example, anal or oral sex) with another man at some time during their life; 9.6% of the men reported that they had been forced to have sex with another man (sexual victimization), and 3% reported that they had perpetrated sexual violence against another man. Most of the men who reported consensual sex with men, including those with current male partners, reported that they had a current female partner. Men with a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior were more likely to have been a victim or perpetrator of male-on-male sexual violence than men without a history of such experiences. Finally, men who reported consensual oral or anal sex with a man were more likely to be HIV+ than men without such a history, and perpetrators of male-on-male sexual violence were more likely to be HIV+ than non-perpetrators.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings provide new information about male–male sexual behaviors, male-on-male sexual violence, male–female concurrency, and HIV prevalence among men in two South African provinces. The precision of these findings is likely to be affected by the small numbers of men reporting a history of consensual male–male sexual behavior and of male-on-male sexual violence. Importantly, because the study was cross-sectional, these findings cannot indicate whether the association between consensual male–male sexual behaviors and increased risk of male-on-male sexual violence is causal. Moreover, these findings may not be generalizable to other regions of South Africa or to other African countries. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that information about the risks of male–male sexual behaviors should be included in HIV prevention strategies targeted at the general population in South Africa and that HIV prevention interventions for South African men should explicitly address male-on-male sexual violence. Similar HIV prevention strategies may also be suitable for other African countries, but are likely to succeed only in countries that have, like South Africa, decriminalized consensual homosexual behavior.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Jerome Singh
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, including summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and men who have sex with men, on HIV prevention, and on AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information about HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (in English and Spanish)
Patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert; the charity website Healthtalkonline also provides personal stories about living with HIV
PMCID: PMC3708702  PMID: 23853554
18.  Pregnancy Intent Among a Sample of Recently Diagnosed HIV-Positive Women and Men Practicing Unprotected Sex in Cape Town, South Africa 
Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for HIV-positive women and men often neglect their fertility desires. We examined factors associated with pregnancy intent among recently diagnosed HIV-positive women (N = 106) and men (N = 91) who reported inconsistent condom use and were enrolled in an SRH intervention conducted in public sector HIV care clinics in Cape Town.
Participants were recruited when receiving their first CD4+ results at the clinic. All reported unprotected sex in the previous 3 months. Logistic regression identified predictors of pregnancy intent for the total sample and by gender.
About three fifths of men and one fifth of women reported intent to conceive in the next 6 months. In the full-sample multiple regression analysis, men [adjusted odds ratio (AOR = 6.62)] and those whose main partner shared intent to conceive (AOR = 3.80) had significantly higher odds of pregnancy intent; those with more years of education (AOR = 0.81) and more biological children (AOR = 0.62) had lower odds of intending pregnancy. In gender-specific analyses, partner sharing pregnancy intent was positively associated with intent among both men (AOR = 3.53) and women (AOR = 13.24). Among men, odds were lower among those having more biological children (AOR = 0.71) and those unemployed (AOR = 0.30). Among women, relying on hormonal contraception was negatively associated with intent (AOR = 0.08), and main partner knowing her HIV status (AOR = 5.80) was positively associated with intent to conceive.
Findings underscore the importance of providing integrated SRH services, and we discuss implications for clinical practice and care.
PMCID: PMC4251915  PMID: 25436819
condoms; fertility intent; childbearing; HIV+ women and men; South Africa
19.  Impact of Social Franchising on Contraceptive Use When Complemented by Vouchers: A Quasi-Experimental Study in Rural Pakistan 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74260.
Pakistan has had a low contraceptive prevalence rate for the last two decades; with preference for natural birth spacing methods and condoms. Family planning services offered by the public sector have never fulfilled the demand for contraception, particularly in rural areas. In the private sector, cost is a major constraint. In 2008, Marie Stopes Society – a local NGO started a social franchise programme along with a free voucher scheme to promote uptake of IUCDs amongst the poor. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of this approach, which is designed to increase modern long term contraceptive awareness and use in rural areas of Pakistan.
We used a quasi-experimental study design with controls, selecting one intervention district and one control district from the Sindh and Punjab provinces. In each district, we chose a total of four service providers. A baseline survey was carried out among 4,992 married women of reproductive age (MWRA) in February 2009. Eighteen months after the start of intervention, an independent endline survey was conducted among 4,003 women. We used multilevel logistic regression for analysis using Stata 11.
Social franchising used alongside free vouchers for long term contraceptive choices significantly increased the awareness of modern contraception. Awareness increased by 5% in the intervention district. Similarly, the ever use of modern contraceptive increased by 28.5%, and the overall contraceptive prevalence rate increased by 19.6%. A significant change (11.1%) was recorded in the uptake of IUCDs, which were being promoted with vouchers.
Family planning franchise model promotes awareness and uptake of contraceptives. Moreover, supplemented with vouchers, it may enhance the use of IUCDs, which have a significant cost attached. Our research also supports a multi-pronged approach- generating demand through counselling, overcoming financial constraints by offering vouchers, training, accreditation and branding of the service providers, and ensuring uninterrupted contraceptive supplies.
PMCID: PMC3772094  PMID: 24069287
20.  Contraceptive Use and Method Preference among Women in Soweto, South Africa: The Influence of Expanding Access to HIV Care and Treatment Services 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13868.
Preventing unintended pregnancy among HIV-positive women constitutes a critical and cost-effective approach to primary prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and is a global public health priority for addressing the desperate state of maternal and child health in HIV hyper-endemic settings. We sought to investigate whether the prevalence of contraceptive use and method preferences varied by HIV status and receipt of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in Soweto, South Africa.
We used survey data from 563 sexually active, non-pregnant women (18–44 years) recruited from the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto (May–December, 2007); 171 women were HIV-positive and receiving HAART (median duration of use = 31 months; IQR = 28, 33), 178 were HIV-positive and HAART-naïve, and 214 were HIV-negative. Medical record review was conducted to confirm HIV status and clinical variables. Logistic regression models estimated adjusted associations between HIV status, receipt of HAART, and contraceptive use.
Overall, 78% of women reported using contraception, with significant variation by HIV status: 86% of HAART users, 82% of HAART-naïve women, and 69% of HIV-negative women (p<0.0001). In adjusted models, compared with HIV-negative women, women receiving HAART were significantly more likely to use contraception while HAART-naïve women were non-significantly more likely (AOR: 2.40; 95% CI: 1.25, 4.62 and AOR: 1.59; 95% CI: 0.88, 2.85; respectively). Among HIV-positive women, HAART users were non-significantly more likely to use contraception compared with HAART-naïve women (AOR: 1.55; 95% CI: 0.84, 2.88). Similar patterns held for specific use of barrier (primarily male condoms), permanent, and dual protection contraceptive methods.
Among HIV-positive women receiving HAART, the observed higher prevalence of contraceptive use overall and condoms in particular promises to yield fewer unintended pregnancies and reduced risks of vertical and sexual HIV transmission. These findings highlight the potential of integrated HIV and reproductive health services to positively impact maternal, partner, and child health.
PMCID: PMC2974641  PMID: 21079770
21.  Hormonal Contraception and the Risk of HIV Acquisition: An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(1):e1001778.
In a meta-analysis of individual participant data, Charles Morrison and colleagues explore the association between hormonal contraception use and risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa.
Observational studies of a putative association between hormonal contraception (HC) and HIV acquisition have produced conflicting results. We conducted an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of studies from sub-Saharan Africa to compare the incidence of HIV infection in women using combined oral contraceptives (COCs) or the injectable progestins depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) or norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN) with women not using HC.
Methods and Findings
Eligible studies measured HC exposure and incident HIV infection prospectively using standardized measures, enrolled women aged 15–49 y, recorded ≥15 incident HIV infections, and measured prespecified covariates. Our primary analysis estimated the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) using two-stage random effects meta-analysis, controlling for region, marital status, age, number of sex partners, and condom use. We included 18 studies, including 37,124 women (43,613 woman-years) and 1,830 incident HIV infections. Relative to no HC use, the aHR for HIV acquisition was 1.50 (95% CI 1.24–1.83) for DMPA use, 1.24 (95% CI 0.84–1.82) for NET-EN use, and 1.03 (95% CI 0.88–1.20) for COC use. Between-study heterogeneity was mild (I2 < 50%). DMPA use was associated with increased HIV acquisition compared with COC use (aHR 1.43, 95% CI 1.23–1.67) and NET-EN use (aHR 1.32, 95% CI 1.08–1.61). Effect estimates were attenuated for studies at lower risk of methodological bias (compared with no HC use, aHR for DMPA use 1.22, 95% CI 0.99–1.50; for NET-EN use 0.67, 95% CI 0.47–0.96; and for COC use 0.91, 95% CI 0.73–1.41) compared to those at higher risk of bias (pinteraction = 0.003). Neither age nor herpes simplex virus type 2 infection status modified the HC–HIV relationship.
This IPD meta-analysis found no evidence that COC or NET-EN use increases women’s risk of HIV but adds to the evidence that DMPA may increase HIV risk, underscoring the need for additional safe and effective contraceptive options for women at high HIV risk. A randomized controlled trial would provide more definitive evidence about the effects of hormonal contraception, particularly DMPA, on HIV risk.
Editors’ Summary
AIDS has killed about 36 million people since the first recorded case of the disease in 1981. About 35 million people (including 25 million living in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and every year, another 2.3 million people become newly infected with HIV. At the beginning of the epidemic, more men than women were infected with HIV. Now, about half of all adults infected with HIV are women. In 2013, almost 60% of all new HIV infections among young people aged 15–24 years occurred among women, and it is estimated that, worldwide, 50 young women are newly infected with HIV every hour. Most women become infected with HIV through unprotected intercourse with an infected male partner—biologically, women are twice as likely to become infected through unprotected intercourse as men. A woman’s risk of becoming infected with HIV can be reduced by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by always using condoms.
Why Was This Study Done?
Women and societies both benefit from effective contraception. When contraception is available, women can avoid unintended pregnancies, fewer women and babies die during pregnancy and childbirth, and maternal and infant health improves. However, some (but not all) observational studies (investigations that measure associations between the characteristics of participants and their subsequent development of specific diseases) have reported an association between hormonal contraceptive use and an increased risk of HIV acquisition by women. So, does hormonal contraception increase the risk of HIV acquisition among women or not? Here, to investigate this question, the researchers undertake an individual participant data meta-analysis of studies conducted in sub-Saharan Africa (a region where both HIV infection and unintended pregnancies are common) to compare the incidence of HIV infection (the number of new cases in a population during a given time period) among women using and not using hormonal contraception. Meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines the results of several studies; an individual participant data meta-analysis combines the data recorded for each individual involved in the studies rather than the aggregated results from each study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers included 18 studies that measured hormonal contraceptive use and incident HIV infection among women aged 15–49 years living in sub-Saharan Africa in their meta-analysis. More than 37,000 women took part in these studies, and 1,830 became newly infected with HIV. Half of the women were not using hormonal contraception, a quarter were using depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA; an injectable hormonal contraceptive), and the remainder were using combined oral contraceptives (COCs) or norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN, another injectable contraceptive). After adjustment for other factors likely to influence HIV acquisition (for example, condom use), women using DMPA had a 1.5-fold increased risk of HIV acquisition compared to women not using hormonal contraception. There was a slightly increased risk of HIV acquisition among women using NET-EN compared to women not using hormonal contraception, but this increase was not statistically significant (it may have happened by chance alone). There was no increased risk of HIV acquisition associated with COC use. DMPA use was associated with a 1.43-fold and 1.32-fold increased risk of HIV acquisition compared with COC and NET-EN use, respectively. Finally, neither age nor herpes simplex virus 2 infection status modified the effect of hormonal contraceptive use on HIV acquisition.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this individual patient data meta-analysis provide no evidence that COC or NET-EN use increases a woman’s risk of acquiring HIV, but add to the evidence suggesting that DMPA use increases the risk of HIV acquisition. These findings are likely to be more accurate than those of previous meta-analyses that used aggregated data but are likely to be limited by the quality, design, and representativeness of the studies included in the analysis. These findings nevertheless highlight the need to develop additional safe and effective contraceptive options for women at risk of HIV, particularly those living in sub-Saharan Africa, where although contraceptive use is generally low, DMPA is the most widely used hormonal contraceptive. In addition, these findings highlight the need to initiate randomized controlled trials to provide more definitive evidence of the effects of hormonal contraception, particularly DMPA, on HIV risk.
Additional Information.
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, including personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS and a news report on this meta-analysis
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on women, HIV, and AIDS, and on HIV and AIDS in South Africa (in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS (in several languages); information about a 2012 WHO technical consultation about hormonal contraception and HIV
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it; UNAIDS also provides information about HIV and hormonal contraception
PMCID: PMC4303292  PMID: 25612136
22.  HIV Risk and Associations of HIV Infection among men who have sex with men in Peri-Urban Cape Town, South Africa 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:766.
The HIV epidemic in Sub Saharan Africa has been traditionally assumed to be driven by high risk heterosexual and vertical transmission. However, there is an increasing body of data highlighting the disproportionate burden of HIV infection among MSM in the generalized HIV epidemics across of Southern Africa. In South Africa specifically, there has been an increase in attention focused on the risk status and preventive needs of MSM both in urban centers and peri-urban townships. The study presented here represents the first evaluation of HIV prevalence and associations of HIV infection among MSM in the peri-urban townships of Cape Town.
The study consisted of an anonymous probe of 200 men, reporting ever having had sex with another man, recruited through venue-base sampling from January to February, 2009.
Overall, HIV prevalence was 25.5% (n = 51/200). Of these prevalent HIV infections, only 6% of HIV-1 infected MSM were aware of their HIV status (3/50). 0% of men reported always having safe sex as defined by always wearing condoms during sex and using water-based lubricants. Independent associations with HIV infection included inconsistent condom use with male partners (aOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0-5.4), having been blackmailed (aOR 4.4, 95% CI 1.6-20.2), age over 26 years (aOR 4.2, 95% CI 1.6-10.6), being unemployed (aOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.5-9.3), and rural origin (aOR 6.0, 95% CI 2.2-16.7). Bisexual activity was reported by 17.1% (34/199), and a total of 8% (16/200) reported having a regular female partner. Human rights violations were common with 10.5% (n = 21/200) reporting having been blackmailed and 21.0% (n = 42/200) reporting being afraid to seek health care.
The conclusions from this study include that a there is a high risk and underserved population of MSM in the townships surrounding Cape Town. The high HIV prevalence and high risk sexual practices suggest that prevalence will continue to increase among these men in the context of an otherwise slowing epidemic. These data further highlight the need to better characterize risk factors for HIV prevention and appropriate targeted combination packages of HIV interventions including biomedical, behavioural, and structural approaches to mitigate HIV risk among these men.
PMCID: PMC3196714  PMID: 21975248
23.  Expanding contraceptive options for PMTCT clients: a mixed methods implementation study in Cape Town, South Africa 
Reproductive Health  2014;11:3.
Clients of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services in South Africa who use contraception following childbirth rely primarily on short-acting methods like condoms, pills, and injectables, even when they desire no future pregnancies. Evidence is needed on strategies for expanding contraceptive options for postpartum PMTCT clients to include long-acting and permanent methods.
We examined the process of expanding contraceptive options in five health centers in Cape Town providing services to HIV-positive women. Maternal/child health service providers received training and coaching to strengthen contraceptive counseling for postpartum women, including PMTCT clients. Training and supplies were introduced to strengthen intrauterine device (IUD) services, and referral mechanisms for female sterilization were reinforced. We conducted interviews with separate samples of postpartum PMTCT clients (265 pre-intervention and 266 post-intervention) to assess knowledge and behaviors regarding postpartum contraception. The process of implementing the intervention was evaluated through systematic documentation and interpretation using an intervention tracking tool. In-depth interviews with providers who participated in study-sponsored training were conducted to assess their attitudes toward and experiences with promoting voluntary contraceptive services to HIV-positive clients.
Following the intervention, 6% of interviewed PMTCT clients had the desired knowledge about the IUD and 23% had the desired knowledge about female sterilization. At both pre- and post-intervention, 7% of clients were sterilized and IUD use was negligible; by comparison, 75% of clients used injectables. Intervention tracking and in-depth interviews with providers revealed intervention shortcomings and health system constraints explaining the failure to produce intended effects.
The intervention failed to improve PMTCT clients’ knowledge about the IUD and sterilization or to increase use of those methods. To address the family planning needs of postpartum PMTCT clients in a way that is consistent with their fertility desires, services must expand the range of contraceptive options to include long-acting and permanent methods. In turn, to ensure consistent access to high quality family planning services that are effectively linked to HIV services, attention must also be focused on resolving underlying health system constraints weakening health service delivery more generally.
PMCID: PMC3895666  PMID: 24410922
PMTCT; Family planning; Intrauterine device; Female sterilization; Implementation; South Africa
24.  Surgical options for the retrieval of a migrated intrauterine contraceptive device 
Journal of Surgical Case Reports  2013;2013(9):rjt072.
The intrauterine contraceptive device is a popular form of contraception for women; however, it does carry a rare but serious risk of migration into the myometrium and then into the peritoneal cavity. We report an unusual case of an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) migrating through the uterus into the peritoneal cavity and subsequently into the sigmoid colon, which was finally retrieved laparoscopically. We also discuss three different methods for the retrieval of a migrated IUCD: colonoscopy, hysteroscopy and laparoscopy and compare and contrast each method.
PMCID: PMC3813589  PMID: 24963903
25.  Actinomyces in the female genital tract. A preliminary report. 
Actinomyces spp were isolated by culture of endocervical specimens from two groups of women attending the department of genitourinary medicine of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield. The first group consisted of 78 users of intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD) of whom 20 (25.6%) were culture positive. The second group contained 63 women using various forms of contraception 12 (19%) of whom were culture positive. None of these 12 women had an IUCD or foreign body in situ. The results suggest that Actinomyces spp may be part of the commensal flora of the genital tract in some women.
PMCID: PMC1046217  PMID: 6616167

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