South Africa's most commonly used injectable contraceptives may be phased out, because of concerns about HIV, City Press reported on Sunday.

It reported that Depo-Provera and Nuristerate, which are both injectable, were the most commonly used contraceptives in South Africa.

According to a recent study by the Wits Reproduction Health and HIV Institute, there was a possible link between injectable hormonal contraceptives and an increased risk of HIV infection.

Using Depo-Provera doubled a woman's risk of transmitting the virus to her partner, the study found.

Health department spokesman Fidel Hadebe told City Press that the department was discussing proposed changes to contraceptive policy made in the report.

Professor Helen Rees, the institute's head, told the weekly newspaper more research was needed on the link between Depo-Provera and HIV.

Nevertheless, newer contraceptive methods, with fewer side effects, could be phased in, she said.

“It is very important that a wider range of contraceptives are made available to women before removing Depo from family planning clincs.” - Sapa