Women and girls must have the information, knowledge, and ability to make the best choices for themselves about their sexual and reproductive lives. Women and girls at increased risk of acquiring HIV are no exception. When a woman can choose effective contraceptive methods, she is put in control of her reproductive health and can better protect herself from HIV, and live a happier, healthier life.
As we await the results of the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trial, we know that evidence must guide all efforts to provide better health for women, girls, and their families. The ECHO clinical trial was designed to do just that – by comparing three common methods of contraceptives and whether any of them increase the risk of acquiring HIV among women and girls at high risk.
We look forward to the evidence from the ECHO trial that will inform the decisions that women and girls make.
Each woman and girl must have the ability to choose the contraceptive method that works best for her, and receive the counselling she needs to weigh her own risks. Women weigh risks and benefits all the time; decisions about contraceptives must never be made for them.
As we await the ECHO results – and into the future – we must all strive to ensure that even more options – and the highest quality counselling – are available to all women and girls who seek to prevent both pregnancy and HIV infection. Putting women and girls at the center is our goal.