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HIV positive birth control options
Jan 19, 2002

I'm currently taking Combivir, Viracept and Viramune. I've been advised that birth control pills affect the effectiveness of HAART, and that HAART affects the effectiveness of birth control pills. Is this accurate? Are there no other options for birth control than barrier methods? What about Norplant or Depo Provera?

Response from Dr. Aberg

It is true that all types of birth control medication including Norplant and Depo-Provera may not be as effective when taken with antiretroviral therapy so it is recommended that you use 2 methods of birth control. The reverse interaction is not as significant. Many of my patients prefer to use Depo-Provera and it does not appear to interact with their HIV meds. But you should be using a barrier method regardless of using birth control medications. Remember that even if your viral load in your blood is undetectable, it is not gone. You could also have HIV in your genital secretions regardless of what your blood tests show. You should not be putting anyone else at risk of acquiring HIV from you so I recommend that you use barrier methods at all times. Also, you do not want to get a sexually transmitted disease from someone so you should practice safer sex. Another potential concern is that even though you already have HIV, you could acquire a different strain which may have mutations leading to drug resistance. Lots to think about. Use a barrier method!


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