Morrison, C. S., Hofmeyr, G. J., Thomas, K. K., Rees, H., Philip, N., Palanee-Phillips, T., Nanda, K., Nair, G., Onono, M., Mastro, T. D., Lind, M., Heffron, R., Edward, V., Deese, J., Beksinska, M., Beesham, I., Stringer, J., Baeten, J. M., Ahmed, K., & ECHO Trial Team (2020).
AIDS research and human retroviruses, 10.1089/AID.2020.0015. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1089/AID.2020.0015
Limited data exist on the effects of contraceptives on HIV disease progression. We studied the association between intramuscular injectable depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-IM), the copper intrauterine device (IUD), and the levonorgestrel (LNG) implant on markers of HIV disease progression at the time of HIV detection and 3 months postdetection and time from detection to CD4 count <350 cells/mm3. Among women initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART), we studied the effect of contraceptive group on time from ART initiation to viral load (VL) <40 copies/mL. We included women 16-35 years randomized to DMPA-IM, copper IUD, or LNG implant with incident HIV infection during the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trial (n = 382). We analyzed HIV VL and CD4 cell count according to participants’ randomized method and also conducted a “continuous use” analysis that excluded follow-up time after method discontinuation. We used adjusted linear models to compare mean VL and CD4 cell levels by contraceptive group up to the time of ART initiation. We compared time from HIV detection to CD4 count <350 cells/mm3 and, following ART initiation, time to viral suppression (VL <40 copies/mL) using Cox proportional hazards models. At HIV detection, women allocated to DMPA-IM had lower VL relative to copper IUD (-0.28 log10 copies/mL; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.55 to -0.01) and LNG implant (-0.27, CI: -0.55 to 0.02) and higher mean CD4 than copper IUD users by 66 cells/mm3 (CI: 11-121). In continuous use analyses women allocated to DMPA-IM progressed to CD4 < 350 cells/mm3 slower than copper IUD users (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.6, CI: 0.3-1.1), whereas copper IUD users progressed faster than LNG implant users (HR = 1.8, CI: 1.0-3.3). Time to viral suppression was faster for DMPA-IM than copper IUD (HR = 1.5, CI: 1.0-2.3) and LNG implant 1.4 (CI: 0.9-2.2) users. We found no evidence of more rapid early HIV disease progression among women using DMPA-IM than among women using copper IUD or LNG implant. Our finding of more rapid progression among copper IUD compared with DMPA-IM users should be interpreted cautiously.