Africa: USAID & Pfizer persist with Depo-Provera despite health, incl. HIV, perils for women Print E-mail

 

 Wednesday October 12 2011

Letter

A Contraceptive’s Risks

To the Editor:
Re “ Contraceptive Said to Double Risks of H.I.V.“ (front page, Oct. 4):

There is a larger context behind the recent finding that the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera may increase the risk of women and their male partners becoming infected with H.I.V. For over a decade other studies have warned about this connection.

As a matter of precaution, family planning agencies should have started phasing out injectables, especially in communities at high risk of H.I.V., and encouraged other contraceptive methods. Instead, injectables are vigorously promoted in Africa because they are viewed as a cheap, effective way to reduce population growth.

Depo-Provera has other serious risks and adverse effects, including loss of bone density in young women, significant weight gain and increased depression. In the United States it is mainly targeted at low-income women and women of color.

The United States Agency for International Development recently signed a new contract with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals to increase the agency’s provision of Depo-Provera by 6.2 million doses. This seems inappropriate when the method’s safety is in doubt.


BETSY HARTMANN

ALINE GUBRIUM

Amherst, Mass., Oct. 6, 2011

Dr. Hartmann is director of the population and development program at Hampshire College.

Dr. Gubrium is assistant professor of public health and health sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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 13 October 2011

Hormone drug sparks outrage in Africa

Written by FC admin

Depo Provera linked to fueling spread of HIV, study shows

SPECIAL TO THE

A controversial hormone drug, long opposed by several Black, Latina and Native American women’s health groups, has found its way to Africa where new research has made some alarming discoveries.

 In the just-published study of seven African countries, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that women who used the Pfizer drug Depo Provera – a hormone-based contraceptive injection – were twice as likely to acquire and pass on HIV as those who didn’t.  A higher risk was also observed for birth-control pills.

The study suggests that active promotion of injectable contraception in Africa may be fueling the spread of the world’s biggest infectious killer, said Charles S. Morrison and Kavita Nanda, researchers at FHI 360, a nonprofit organization in Durham, North Carolina, that works on reproductive health projects.

Dangerous side effects
Some 3,790 couples in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in which one partner was infected with HIV were studied for the research.

For years, Depo-Provera has been targeted by health activist women of color, who point out how  disproportionately it is used with Black and poor women despite dangerous side effects. Depo users in the U.S. are 33 percent under the age of 19, 84 percent Black women, and 74 percent low income, according to a recent study.

In 2004, Pfizer acknowledged that Depo caused a significant loss of bone mineral density, and a study funded by USAID found that women using Depo had a three-fold chance of infection from Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Potentially life-threatening
Nevertheless, from 1994-2000, USAID provided 41,967,200 units of Depo-Provera to the developing world.  USAID sends more units of Depo-Provera to Africa, to countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria than to any other part of the world.

"Depo-Provera is potentially life-threatening," warned a poster by the Racism & Reproductive Rights Taskforce in San Francisco. "Get The Facts Before You Get The Shot."

More than 140 million women worldwide use hormonal contraception, including pills and long-acting injections, which are the most popular form of birth control in Africa.

But limiting the most highly used method of contraception could also be risky, warned the FHI 360 group.  It could contribute to increased maternal mortality and more low birth weight babies and orphans – "an equally tragic result."

This story is special to the , also known as the Black Press of America) from the Global Information Network.
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  09 October 2011

Hormone drug considered unsafe in the U.S., now creating havoc in Africa

Written by FC admin
Special to the  from the Global Information Network

  A controversial hormone drug, long opposed by several Black, Latina and Native American women’s health groups, has found its way to Africa where new research has made some alarming discoveries.

In the just-published study of seven African countries, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle found that women who used the Pfizer drug Depo Provera – a hormone-based contraceptive injection - were twice as likely to acquire and pass on HIV as those who didn’t.  A higher risk was also observed for birth-control pills.

The study suggests that active promotion of injectable contraception in Africa may be fueling the spread of the world’s biggest infectious killer, said Charles S. Morrison and Kavita Nanda, researchers at FHI 360, a nonprofit organization in Durham, North Carolina, that works on reproductive health projects.

Some 3,790 couples in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in which one partner was infected with HIV were studied for the research.

For years , Depo-Provera has been targeted by health activist women of color, who point out how disproportionately it is used with Black and poor women despite dangerous side effects. Depo users in the U.S. are 33 percent under the age of 19, 84 percent Black women, and 74 percent low income, according to a recent study.

In 2004, Pfizer acknowledged that Depo caused a significant loss of bone mineral density, and a study funded by USAID found that women using Depo had a three-fold chance of infection from Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Nevertheless, from 1994-2000, USAID provided 41,967,200 units of Depo-Provera to the developing world. USAID sends more units of Depo-Provera to Africa, to countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria than to any other part of the world.

“Depo-Provera is potentially life-threatening,” warned a poster by the Racism & Reproductive Rights Taskforce in San Francisco. “Get The Facts Before You Get The Shot.”

More than 140 million women worldwide use hormonal contraception, including pills and long-acting injections, which are the most popular form of birth control in Africa. But limiting the most highly used method of contraception could also be risky, warned the FHI 360 group.  It could contribute to increased maternal mortality and more low birth weight babies and orphans – “an equally tragic result.”