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Women account for nearly one-half of new human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections worldwide, including the majority of infections in Africa. Biological and epidemiological studies suggest that hormonal contraceptive use could influence susceptibility to HIV-1, as well as infectivity and disease progression for those who become infected. However, not all studies have shown this relationship, and many questions remain. Safe and effective contraceptive choices are essential for women with and at risk for HIV-1 infection. Thus, understanding the effect, if any, of hormonal contraception on HIV-1 disease among women is a public health priority.