Elena Lebetkin, Xiaoming Gao, Douglas Taylor, Lauren Y. Maldonado, Abdulmumin Saad, Markus J. Steiner, Laneta J. Dorflinger, Kavita Nanda and Timothy D. Mastro
Global Health: Science and Practice June 2019, GHSP-D-19-00062; https://doi.org/10.9745/GHSP-D-19-00062
Background: Observational studies raise concern about a potential link between injectable progestin contraceptive use and HIV acquisition risk. This possible link is particularly relevant in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV risk is high and the method mix is skewed toward injectables. We developed the Planning for Outcomes (P4O) model (https://planning4outcomes.ctiexchange.org/) to predict changes in maternal and child health (MCH) and HIV outcomes that could occur if the proportion of injectables in the method mix is changed.
Methods: P4O incorporates evidence-based assumptions to predict yearly changes in unintended pregnancies, morbidity/mortality, HIV infections (women and infants), and anticipated health care costs associated with changing the proportions of injectable users in 22 selected countries. Users of this model designate all countries or a subset and adjust inputs including percentage of injectable users who discontinue, percentage of discontinuers who begin use of an alternative method, hazard ratio for HIV infection with injectable use, method mix used by injectable discontinuers, annual probabilities of method-specific pregnancy and mother-to-child transmission of HIV, condom effectiveness against HIV, risk of HIV during pregnancy, and HIV incidence among women of reproductive age.
Results: Illustrative results from all sub-Saharan African countries combined and from selected countries demonstrate the potential of P4O to inform program planning and procurement decisions. In countries with high use of long-acting reversible contraception, the removal of injectables from the method mix is associated with improvement in MCH and HIV indicators if most injectable users switch to more effective methods (e.g., implants). In countries with high use of short-acting methods (e.g., condoms), the model predicts mostly negative MCH outcomes.
Conclusions: Policy makers and program planners may use P4O to inform programming and policy decisions. In all scenarios, programmatic preparation to accommodate changes to the contraceptive method mix, considerations of how the individual desires of women will be addressed, and potential burden of anticipated MCH-related costs warrant advanced consideration.