Sexually transmitted infections and use of contraceptives in women living with HIV in Denmark - the SHADE cohort.

BMC Infect Dis 2016 Feb 16;16:81. Epub 2016 Feb 16.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Hvidovre, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: No Danish guidelines for screening of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in women living with HIV (WLWH) exist, except for annual syphilis testing. Drug-drug interaction between hormonal contraceptives and some types of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) occurs. We assessed prevalence of STIs, contraceptive choices and predictors of condom use in a cohort of WLWH in Denmark.

Methods: WLWH consecutively enrolled during their outpatient visits from 2011 to 2012. Gynaecological examination and an interview were performed at entry and 6-month follow-up. Inclusion criteria were HIV-1 infection and ≥ 18 years of age. Exclusion criteria were pregnancy, alcohol- or drug abuse impeding adherence to the protocol. At entry, participants were tested (and where appropriate, treated according to guidelines) for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, syphilis, and herpes simplex (HSV-1 and HSV-2). At follow-up, predictors of condom use were estimated in sexually active WLWH.

Results: In total, 334 of the 1,392 eligible WLWH in Denmark were included (median age and HIV duration: 42.5 and 11.3 years). Chlamydia trachomatis was present in four individuals (1 %), and six (2 %) tested positive for HSV-2 by PCR. None were positive for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, HSV-1 or had active syphilis. At follow-up, 252 (76 %) participated; 168 (70 %) were sexually active. Contraceptives were used by 124 (75 %); condoms were preferred (62 %). Having an HIV-negative partner predicted condom use (adjusted OR 3.89 (95 %CI 1.49-10.11)). In the group of participants of reproductive age without pregnancy desires 13 % used no birth-control. Possible drug-drug interaction between hormonal contraceptives and HAART was found in 13/14 WLWH receiving both kinds of medication.

Conclusion: The prevalence of STIs in WLWH in Denmark was low. The need for annual STI screening is questionable. Condoms were preferred contraceptives, especially in WLWH with an HIV-negative partner. In this cohort, 13 % of WLWH of reproductive age were at risk of unintended pregnancies due to lack of birth-control. Finally, in the subgroup of WLWH receiving both hormonal contraceptives and HAART possible drug-drug interactions could occur.

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