Journalists have a critical role in covering the ECHO Study results. This page includes the latest news, key resources, and a calendar of events for reporters, writers, and influencers to get up-to-date information and tell a complete story about the ECHO Study, hormonal contraception, and HIV acquisition.
- What is the ECHO Study?
- Who do the ECHO Study results impact?
- Why should journalists cover this news?
- How can media tell this story?
Access to family planning saves lives – millions of lives worldwide. Modern methods of contraception such as injections, intrauterine devices, and implants enable women to avoid or delay pregnancy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) periodically assesses the safety of each contraceptive method and assigns a medical eligibility criteria (MEC) for contraceptive use category of risk. Category 1 is the lowest risk category and category 4 is the highest risk category. ue to a lack of evidence, the safety of certain hormonal contraceptive methods for women at high risk for HIV infection has been uncertain. In 2015, the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trial began with the objective of testing the comparative risk of HIV acquisition among women using one of the following three contraceptive methods: a progestogen-only injectable (Depo-Medroxyprogesterone Acetate intramuscular (DMPA-IM)), a levonorgestrel implant (Jadelle) or a non-hormonal copper IUD. The study followed over 7,800 women in four countries over three years. The trial was run to exceptionally high standards and all contraceptive methods tested in ECHO safe and effective for millions of women and will remain so, regardless of the trial results.
The ECHO Study results were released on June 13, 2019 at a late-breaker session at the South Africa AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. The clinical trial found no substantial difference in HIV risk among DMPA-IM, copper IUD, and LNG implant users. Guidance from the WHO on the MEC category for each contraceptive method used in the study is expected in August 2019.
ECHO Study results impact women at high risk of HIV. As the primary user of hormonal contraception, a woman decides whether to adopt a contraceptive method and which methods to use. She must have the information, knowledge, and ability to make the best choices for herself about her health, including her sexual and reproductive choices. This decision affects her own health as well as the health of her children.
Those who counsel women, provide health services for women, and advocate for women’s sexual and reproductive health rights should also take note of the results andWHO’s contraceptive guidance. Health program staff must provide accurate family planning information to their patients. Government officials and policymakers must anticipate and respond to their population’s contraceptive use and expand access to a broad range of methods as well as HIV prevention technologies, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Advocates must keep stakeholders accountable for the health of women and children.
Because the WHO’s contraceptive guidance is used worldwide, results from the ECHO Study and WHO’s subsequent guidance are highly anticipated in multiple fields of health, especially family planning and HIV. This news fills a critical information gap and will influence health program implementation, government action plans, advocacy messages around women and their health rights, as well as the scientific community.
Journalism is the main source of communication to the public. News audiences, including women, will be looking to their preferred media sources for information that they can understand and use. If news outlets do not provide the proper coverage, misinformation could reduce confidence in contraceptive options and lead to preventable high-risk pregnancies. High-quality reporting can help improve the health of women and children.
Modern Methods are Safe and Do Not Increase Risk for HIV Acquisition
The results show that none of the methods have an increased risk, so women can be confident in choosing any method according to their lifestyle and preferences. Media is encouraged to inform the public that benefits outweigh the risks for all three methods and that no method protects against HIV. Therefore women and men should also use condoms. Personal stories of women finding their family planning solution can be powerful in communicating the safety of modern methods of contraception.
Resources are ordered by date, most recent first.
Past Events › General
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A Family Planning Stakeholders Meeting Monday, March 11, 2019 9:00 am – 1:00 pm United Nations Foundation 1750 Pennsylvania Ave., 12th Floor Washington, DC 20006 The Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) Study is an open-label, randomized, clinical trial comparing three highly effective, reversible methods of contraception — the progestogen-only injectable depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), a levonorgestrel implant, and the non-hormonal copper intrauterine device — to evaluate whether there is any difference in the risk of acquiring HIV infection among users of…Find out more »
Join FP2020 on April 2 to hear more about the ECHO Study. The webinar will feature: Beth Schlachter, Executive Director, FP2020 Dr. Jared Baeten, Vice Chair, Department of Global Health, University of Washington, ECHO Consortium Dr. Nelly Mugo, Research Associate Professor, Global Health, University of Washington, ECHO Management Committee Tamar Abrams, Communications Director, FP2020Find out more »
With a special discussion on ECHO and its potential effect on youth programs Co-hosted by FP2020, AVAC, and Jhpiego/The Advocacy Collaborative United Nations Foundation 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20006 9:00AM to 4:30PM Strategize on how HIV and FP advocacy partners can better align to prepare effective responses before and after the release of ECHO results. Meeting Objectives: Discuss preliminary mapping of current partner efforts to identify key gaps and opportunities for collaborative engagement/support Agree on concrete ways in…Find out more »
Some observational studies have raised concerns about a possible link between the use of progestogen-only injectable contraceptives, particularly depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), and the risk of HIV acquisition. The ongoing Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trial is comparing DMPA, levonorgestrel implants, and copper intrauterine device (IUD) use on risk of HIV acquisition among women in four African countries, with results expected in 2019. Depending on the evidence obtained from the ECHO trial, injectable use could be reduced…Find out more »
Past observational studies have raised concerns about a possible link between the use of certain progesterone only contraceptives and the risk of HIV acquisition among populations with high HIV infection risk. In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) first released guidance on use of hormonal contraception by women at high risk for HIV as part of the Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) for Contraceptive Use. As part of this guidance, WHO recommended that women who are at high risk for HIV…Find out more »
May 7, 7:00 am - 8:00 am EDT The global health community eagerly awaits results from the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) trial, which are expected in July. The ECHO trial is an open-label, randomized, clinical trial comparing three highly effective, reversible methods of contraception — the progestogen-only injectable depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), a levonorgestrel implant, and the non-hormonal copper intrauterine device — to evaluate whether there is any difference in the risk of acquiring HIV infection among users of…Find out more »
The world's largest conference on the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.Find out more »
Results from the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) Study will be released at SA AIDS in Durban, South Africa, on Thursday, June 13th. The ECHO team is committed to sharing these results globally – particularly with stakeholders in both the HIV and family planning communities. This webinar will provide background on the ECHO trial, present the results, and outline next steps. To ensure a coordinated and strategic response to the results at the country level, it is…Find out more »
Save the date — June 13, 2019 — for this late-breaker session at the 9th SA AIDS Conference, which will include presentations on the primary analysis of data from the Evidence for Contraceptive Options and HIV Outcomes (ECHO) Study. The announcement will occur at 2:00pm South Africa time (8:00am ET). This pivotal and long-awaited randomised clinical trial, conducted at 12 sites in Eswatini, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia, compared the relative risk of HIV acquisition among 7,829 women who used…Find out more »
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The Results 4 Informed Choice Photo Bank is an effort to provide users with ready access to relevant and appropriate images for communication and advocacy around the ECHO trial. The collection includes photos from actual international health and development work related to HIV, family planning, education, counseling, and contraception in a variety of contexts. Some photos are available for direct download - please ALWAYS credit photographers, regardless of the format of your materials.