The Florida Courier is far more blunt than other articles about the Depo Provera hormonal contraceptive drug that has been found to increase transmission of HIV from men to women and from women to men. Noting that the use of Depo has long been opposed by Black, Latina and Native American women’s health groups, it is apparent that the drug is disproportionately used by black and poor women, even though it was known there were serious side effects associated with its use.
For many years the drug has been actively promoted, in both its injectable and oral forms, in African countries. In the US, users are “33 percent under the age of 19, 84 percent Black women, and 74 percent low income”. Manufacturer Pfizer has acknowledged some of the side effects. But tens of millions of units of the drug have been supplied to developing countries, especially Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.
While Pfizer claimed not have read the report some time after it had been published, and so refused to comment on it, the development community has been slow to issue guidelines on use of Depo Provera pills and injections. And none of the mainstream media appear to have mentioned the fact that injectable contraceptives may be administered using reused and unsterile equipment, or may have been so administered in the past.
Guidance is anxiously awaited by those who don’t wish to stop using birth control but must avoid any serious side effects that may result from Depo Provera.