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Statement From Pathfinder President and CEO Lois Quam On Release of ECHO Study Results And Importance of Access to Contraception

Washington, D.C. – The results of an important clinical trial published today in The Lancet finds no substantial difference in HIV risk among women using three methods of contraception. The Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) study was a randomized clinical trial that compared three long-acting and reversible methods of contraception – DMPA-IM, copper IUD, and LNG implant – to evaluate whether there was any difference in the risk of HIV acquisition among women using the methods.

In response to the study results, Pathfinder President and CEO Lois Quam issued the following statement:

“The ECHO trial results provide much needed high-quality scientific evidence showing no scientifically significant risk of HIV acquisition for women using three methods of contraception. This is an important development for women globally and confirms that women and girls should have access to a broad range of options for contraception along with high-quality counselling free of stigma, discrimination, and coercion. When a woman has access to, and can choose, effective contraception she is able to improve her life, choosing when and how many children to have.

“There is still much work to be done as the overall incidence rate of HIV acquisition of women in the study was high, at an average of 3.8% per year. Particularly in settings with high HIV prevalence, we must integrate HIV prevention programs as a part of family planning.

“214 million women globally wish to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern method of contraception. What this study and our work at Pathfinder shows us is that, to achieve health for all, we must close the gap between those who wish to use contraception and those who can.”

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