There are many different methods of contraception available and different methods suit different people at different times in their lives.
Condoms and Femidoms (the female condom) are the only contraception methods that also reduce the chances of HIV being passed on during sex.
Although all types of contraception can be used by women who are HIV positive, some of the hormonal methods (e.g. the pill, the implant, the patch and vaginal rings) may be less effective if you are taking HIV treatment.
Sheffield contraception services can offer support, information and advice about the range of contraception choices available and the benefits/ disadvantages of each method for people who have HIV.
The booklet ‘Contraception Choices’ gives basic information about the different methods of contraception available.
Click here to download a PDF version of this booklet.
HIV Treatments & Contraception
Because most HIV treatments can interfere with some hormonal contraception methods, it is wise to check out with your HIV consultant/ healthcare worker how the types of medication you are taking may affect some forms of contraception. They can then give you the best and most appropriate advice about your contraception choices.
Generally, the following contraception methods may be affected by HIV treatments:
- The Combined Pill
- The Mini-Pill (Progestogen only Pill)
- Contraceptive Implants
- Vaginal Rings
- Contraceptive Patches
Also, some other medications (e.g. anti epilepsy drugs) can also impact on the effectiveness of these contraception methods.
The following contraception methods are not affected by HIV treatments:
- Intrauterine Devices (IUD) and Intruterine Systems (IUS) – these methods do not release hormones into the bloodstream, so there are no HIV medication interactions
- Contraceptive injection
- Diaphragms and caps – not recommended for women with HIV (unless women find it difficult to negotiate condom use with their partners) as the spermicide jelly that is used with these methods can cause vaginal irritation that could facilitate the transmission of HIV
- Natural family planning methods
Remember that condoms and femidoms are the only contraception methods that can reduce the risk of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as providing protection against unwanted pregnancy.
To avoid a possible unintended or unwanted pregnancy, an ‘emergency’ contraceptive pill is available. This pill needs to be taken within 5 days of having sex (but the sooner the better).
You can get this pill free from:
- Department of GU Medicine at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital
- Sheffield Contraception and Sexual Health Service
- Youth Clinic and Young People’s Outreach Service
- Most GP Practices
- Sheffield Walk-In-Centre
- The Accident & Emergency Department at Northern General Hospital
It is important that you let the doctor / nurse know that you are on HIV treatment, as some anti-HIV drugs interfere with the way the emergency contraceptive pill works.
- NHS Choices website
- FPA – Sexual Health Charity website
- THT website – PEP Information
- NAM Aidsmap website – Contraception & HIV