Clinical Edge

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Self-Reporting Hormonal Contraceptive Use & HIV

Contraception; ePub 2018 Feb 2; Pyra, et al

When investigating associations between hormonal contraceptive use and HIV, researchers should consider validating self-reported use by objective measures to combat both over- and under-reporting of use, a recent study found. 1,102 archived serum samples from 664 African women who had participated in prospective HIV prevention studies were tested. Researchers then quantified exogenous hormones for injectables, oral contraceptives (OC), and implants, and compared them to self-reported use. They found:

  • Among women reporting hormonal contraceptive use, 72% of samples were fully concordant with self-report, as were 86% of samples from women reporting no hormonal contraceptive use.
  • However, 17% of samples from women reporting injectable use, 62% of samples from self-reported OC users, and 8% of samples from self-reported implant users had no quantifiable hormones.
  • Among self-reported non-users, 14% had ≥1 hormone present.
  • Concordance between self-reported method and exogenous hormones did not differ by HIV status.


Pyra M, Lingappa JR, Heffron R, et al. Concordance of self-reported hormonal contraceptive use and presence of exogenous hormones in serum among African women. [Published online ahead of print February 2, 2018]. Contraception. doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2018.01.011.