Objective: Hormonal contraception has been associated with an increased prevalence of cervical shedding of HIV-1 DNA among infected women. We conducted this study to evaluate the effect of the use of an intrauterine device (IUD) on the detection of HIV-1 DNA in cervical secretions.
Design: A prospective study of HIV-1-seropositive women undergoing IUD insertion at two public family planning clinics in Nairobi, Kenya.
Methods: Cervical swab samples were collected before IUD insertion and approximately 4 months thereafter for the detection of HIV-1-infected cells using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of HIV-1 gag DNA sequences.
Results: Ninety-eight women were enrolled and followed after IUD insertion. The prevalence of HIV-1 DNA cervical shedding was 50% at baseline and 43% at follow-up [odds ratio (OR) 0.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5-1.2]. There was no statistically significant difference between the baseline and follow-up shedding rates in a multivariate model that controlled for previous hormonal contraceptive use, condom use, cervical ectopy, friable cervix, cervical infections at an interim visit, and CD4 lymphocyte levels (OR 0.6, 95% CI 0.3-1.1).
Conclusion: The insertion of an IUD did not significantly alter the prevalence of cervical shedding of HIV-1-infected cells. The use of IUDs, in conjunction with condoms, may be an appropriate method of contraception for HIV-1-infected women from the standpoint of potential infectivity to the male partner through exposure to genital HIV-1.