Trends in contraceptive use according to HIV status among privately insured women in the United States

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There is limited information on the patterns and trends of contraceptive use among women living with HIV, compared with noninfected women in the United States. Further, little is known about whether antiretroviral therapy correlates with contraceptive use. Such information is needed to help identify potential gaps in care and to enhance unintended pregnancy prevention efforts.


We sought to compare contraceptive method use among HIV-infected and noninfected privately insured women in the United States, and to evaluate the association between antiretroviral therapy use and contraceptive method use.

Study Design

We used a large US nationwide health care claims database to identify girls and women ages 15-44 years with prescription drug coverage. We used diagnosis, procedure, and National Drug Codes to assess female sterilization and reversible prescription contraception use in 2008 and 2014 among women continuously enrolled in the database during 2003 through 2008 or 2009 through 2014, respectively. Women with no codes were classified as using no method; these may have included women using nonprescription methods, such as condoms. We calculated prevalence of contraceptive use by HIV infection status, and by use of antiretroviral therapy among those with HIV. We used multivariable polytomous logistic regression to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for female sterilization, long-acting reversible contraception, and short-acting hormonal contraception compared to no method.


While contraceptive use increased among HIV-infected and noninfected women from 2008 through 2014, in both years, a lower proportion of HIV-infected women used prescription contraceptive methods (2008: 17.5%; 2014: 28.9%, compared with noninfected women (2008: 28.8%; 2014: 39.8%, P < .001 for both). Controlling for demographics, chronic medical conditions, pregnancy history, and cohort year, HIV-infected women compared to HIV-noninfected women had lower odds of using long-acting reversible contraception (adjusted odds ratio, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.52–0.86 compared to no method) or short-acting hormonal contraception method (adjusted odds ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.50–0.70 compared to no method). In 2014, HIV-infected women using antiretroviral therapy were significantly more likely to use no method (76.8% vs 64.1%), and significantly less likely to use short-acting hormonal contraception (11.0% vs 22.7%) compared to HIV-infected women not using antiretroviral therapy. Those receiving antiretroviral therapy had lower odds of using short-acting hormonal contraception compared to no method (adjusted odds ratio, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.32–0.63). There was no significant difference in female sterilization by HIV status or antiretroviral therapy use.


Despite the safety of reversible contraceptives for women with HIV, use of prescription contraception continues to be lower among privately insured HIV-infected women compared to noninfected women, particularly among those receiving antiretroviral therapy.

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