Women and HIV infection: The makings of a midlife crisis

Nanette Santoro, Maria Fan, Bat Sheva Maslow, Ellie Schoenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


With the advent of highly active antiretroviral agents, women with HIV infection can expect to live longer than ever before. This increased survival has led to concerns about the long-term implications of HIV disease and its treatment. Women with HIV infection appear to lose ovarian function earlier in life than women without HIV infection. They also have evidence of reduced bone mineral density and increased cardiovascular risk. Moreover, many of these increases in risk factors are present even prior to the menopausal transition. All of these risks, present at midlife, augur poorly for future health and describe a substantially increased burden of disease likely to accrue to HIV-infected women as they enter older age groups. Further compounding the adversity faced by the HIV infected, the demographics of women most vulnerable to this disease include adverse social and economic influences, both of which worsen their long-term prognosis. For example, drug use and poverty are related to more severe menopausal symptoms and chronic stress is related to worse psychological and cardiovascular risk. An understanding of how menopause interacts with HIV infection is therefore most important to alert the clinician to perform surveillance for common health problems in postmenopausal women, and to address directly and appropriately symptomatology during the menopausal transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-164
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 20 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Heart disease
  • Menopause
  • Symptoms
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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