News & CommentSIV Transmission

Monkey Study Prompts High-Level Public Health Response

Science  10 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5263, pp. 805
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5263.805


A finding that monkeys treated with the hormone progesterone are at an increased risk of infection with SIV, the simian form of the AIDS virus, caused top public health officials to scramble to get the data out with the appropriate caveats. The reason: The finding raises the alarming possibility that women who use the progestin-containing contraceptives Depo-Provera and Norplant might—and that's a big might—be at an increased risk of becoming infected with HIV. The data were described at a meeting in Washington this week, accompanied by a press release, even before a paper describing the work had been accepted for publication.