Countries and programs where many family planning clients are at high risk of HIV infection may decide to tell all women interested in progestin-only injectables about research findings concerning HIV risk (see Progestin-Only Injectables, Question 2). Women at high HIV risk can still choose to use a progestin-only injectable if they wish.
For providers in these programs, here are some counseling tips:
• Tell the client interested in a progestin-only injectable these facts:
- Some research has found that women who use a progestin-only injectable and are exposed to HIV are slightly more likely than other women to get an HIV infection.
- The meaning of these findings is not clear. We do not know whether or not this method causes this higher risk.
- You can protect yourself from HIV.
- You can still choose this method, but we want you to think about this information.
- We have other long-acting and effective methods, and we can discuss them if you would like.
Help the woman consider:
- Are you doing something to protect yourself from HIV infection? [Discuss how she protects herself from HIV.] If not, could you start protecting yourself now? [Discuss HIV protection choices.]
- Do you prefer a progestin-only injectable much more than any other method? [If so, reassure her that she can choose a progestin-only injectable if she prefers it.] Would you like to discuss and think about other methods, too? [Mention and discuss especially other long-lasting, effective and convenient methods, such as implants and IUDs.]
Note: This counseling is for women who are not now infected with HIV but who face a high risk that they may become infected in the future. It is not relevant for women who already have HIV infection. Women who already have HIV infection also can safely use a progestin-only injectable.