University College London published the results of an HIV and menopause questionnaire survey, Thursday 17 May 2018. Kathy Abernethy, chairperson of the British Menopause Society, is part of the Q&A panel and has summarised the key points of the survey results.
Menopause in women living with HIV – PRIME Study 2018
In 2016, 10,350 women living with HIV aged between 45 and 56 years attended for HIV care in the UK: a five-fold increase over ten years. This study is one of the largest to look at health and wellbeing in this group, with data on nearly 900 women aged 45-60 years.
- Nearly half stated they did not have enough information about menopause, feeling unprepared for the transition.
- Women with HIV were more likely than women without HIV to report sexual problems
- Use of HRT was low in this group.
- Women with HIV describe challenges including distinguishing menopausal symptoms from HIV related symptoms, difficulties accessing menopause care because of GP anxieties and the potential impact of menopausal symptoms on HIV management.
- Women identified access to menopausal-related information and peer support as important ways of supporting women through menopause transition.
In addition, a survey of 88 GPs found:
- Fewer than half (46%) reported confidence managing menopause in women with HIV, yet 95% reported confidence in managing women without HIV through menopause.
Recommendations (full recommendation available in the report - link below)
- HIV services and GPs should be aware of potential impact of menopause on health and wellbeing of women living with HIV
- High quality and accessible information on menopause should be available to those attending HIV clinics
- Annual assessment of women’s menstrual cycle and assessment of menopause needs in women over 45 years should be included in routine clinical HIV care (BHIVA/BASHH/FSRH Guidelines forthcoming)
- Training needs to be provided on management of women living with HIV and menopause to develop confidence and skills in primary care.
- Research priorities are highlighted
- Commissioners need to recognise the need for care of women with HIV at time of menopause transition to ensure best outcomes.
Click here to read the full report.