New Study Examines Association between DMPA (Depo shot) and STI Risk among Adolescents

In the article Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate Use is Not Associated with Risk of Incident Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Adolescent Women, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, author Amy Romer and other researchers from the Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research investigated whether depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) use is associated with an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in a group of healthy adolescents. The authors found no evidence that DMPA use increased risk of STIs, and the only factor significantly associated with increased risk was a greater number of sexual partners (odds ratio, range = 1.91-2.62)

Adolescent women aged 14–17 years (n = 342) were recruited from clinical sites in the United States between 1999 and 2005. They returned quarterly for interviews and STI testing. During alternating 3-month periods, participants also completed daily diaries of sexual behaviors and performed weekly vaginal self-obtained swabs to test for STIs. Data collected through 2009 (median follow-up length = 42.2 months) were analyzed.

In multivariable analysis, there were no significant associations between DMPA use in the current or previous 3-month period and incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or Trichomonas vaginalis. The only factor significantly associated with an increased risk of contracting all three STIs was a greater number of sexual partners during the diary period.

The authors conclude that in this U.S.-based cohort of adolescent women, no evidence was found that DMPA use is associated with increased STI risk. Authors recommend that efforts to curb STI transmission among adolescents should focus on education about the reduced number of sexual partners.

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