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Epi Seminar Series

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
3:30 pm to 4:50 pm
Health Sciences K-069

“Hormonal Contraception and HIV Risk”

Dr. Heffron


Renee Heffron, MPH, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Global Health, UW



Hormonal contraception is a public health imperative for women; its use results in reduced maternal and child morbidity and mortality.  In the past 25 years, many observational studies have examined the potential for hormonal contraception, especially injectable contraceptives, to increase a woman’s risk of acquiring HIV infection.  The study methodologies are of varying quality, the results are inconsistent, and any potential increase in risk must be balanced against the tremendous benefits offered by hormonal contraceptives.  This presentation will provide an overview of the evidence to date, look specifically at research conducted by epidemiologists at the University of Washington, discuss key sources of bias in observational studies addressing this question, and discuss the next steps for this question, which is a priority for women at risk of HIV infection. 

About the speaker:

Renee Heffron, MPH, PhD, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington and recent graduate from the UW Department of Epidemiology.  Her research focuses on epidemiologic questions that bridge the areas of reproductive health and HIV prevention including recent work on hormonal contraception and pregnancy and their effect on HIV acquisition risk.  Additionally, Renee is leading the management of the Partners Demonstration Project, a multisite study of antiretroviral-based HIV prevention among HIV discordant couples in Kenya and Uganda.  Renee brings many years of experience living in Africa to her research including her time in rural Burkina Faso and Zambia where she developed her passion for working in the field of HIV.  She currently collaborates closely with colleagues and mentors at the University of Washington and the University of Nairobi.

Suggested reading: Use of Hormonal contraceptives and risk of HIV-1 transmission: a prospective cohort study

Updated on March 18, 2013