In Summary
  • The reason, the study states, is that long-acting contraceptives do not require repeated healthcare visits and are probably the most convenient preventive modalities.

  • The trial released last month was conducted over three years in Kenya, eSwatini, Zambia and South Africa.

  • chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis four of the most common venereal infections account for more than a million new cases of curable STIs daily.

Kenyan women on long-acting contraceptives recorded higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, compared to the general population, a new study reveals.

The study done in four African countries, Kenya included, showed that a high number of women in the study who went for modern family planning methods, had gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

Most affected are girls aged 16 to 24 years.

THREE YEARS

The reason, the study states, is that long-acting contraceptives do not require repeated healthcare visits and are probably the most convenient preventive modalities.

The trial released last month was conducted over three years in Kenya, eSwatini, Zambia and South Africa.

The highly publicised Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (Echo) trial, confirmed hormonal contraceptives do not increase women’s risk of becoming infected with HIV.

The Echo study began in December 2015, enrolling and following 7,829 sexually active, HIV-negative women aged 16 to 35 years across 12 clinical trial sites in the four countries.

In Kenya, 900 women in Kisumu took part in the study, locally coordinated by the Kenya Medical Research Institute.

It was meant to establish whether the use of hormonal contraception, particularly Depo, may increase women’s risk of HIV acquisition.

The Echo trial included sexually active, HIV-negative women aged 16-35 years, seeking effective contraceptives and willing to be randomly assigned one of the three hormonal contraceptive methods.

Women were followed for 12-18 months across nine sites in SA, three in Kenya, eSwatini and Zambia.

“Few studies had examined whether hormonal implants or IUDs affected users’ risk of HIV acquisition,” said Nelly Mugo, head of the sexual, reproductive, adolescent and child health research programme at Kemri.

The randomised, open-label clinical trial conducted compared HIV risk women on the three most commonly used methods of hormonal contraception: the DMPA-IM shot, a copper intrauterine device (IUD) and a levonorgestrel (LNG) implant.

WAKE-UP CALL

According to the findings, chlamydia infection was 18 per cent at baseline (start of the study) and 15 per cent at last visit. Overall, gonorrhoea stood at five per cent; this is despite treatment during follow-up visits.

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