Over 60 Global Leaders Representing 12 Countries Demand WHO act on Critical Concerns Around Depo-provera and Increased HIV Risk

Over sixty leaders on sexual and reproductive health rights from twelve African countries demand WHO to act on three key concerns about the Trial on HIV risk from the contraceptive Depo-provera. The leaders include medical doctors, Reverends and Rabbi’s, HIV activists, public health educators, and a member of the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes, ECHO Trial, Global Community Advisory Group.

The open letter outlines three key requests in advance of the of global health organisation’s Guideline Development Group, GDG meeting held in August.

  1. That the WHO provide more time to the GDG, African Health authorities, civil society and scholars to consider the relevance of new epidemiological, and biological evidence, including the recently announced findings from the ECHO randomised clinical trial for policy.
  2. That the GDG demand transparency from ECHO researchers on their trial. In particular on how a 50% increased risk was determined as an appropriate margin - and by whom. And further that the GDG determine if this margin is still ‘clinically relevant’, and if it ever was?
  3. That extensive discussion take place at the GDG on what is meant by ‘high-risk’ women to determine how, and if the ECHO Trial’s ‘calculated effect size of potential increased risk of 30%’ is valuable enough to inform global guidelines.

Find the full open letter here

In related news, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published an editorial critiquing the World Health Organisation's revised guidelines in light of the ECHO trial on HIV and Depo-Provera results, stating that the "new guidance fails to protect women and girls in high prevalence countries".