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Updates on Women and HIV Treatment

, by San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Half of all people living with HIV worldwide are women, according to World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimates. All too often, however, the science around women and HIV focuses on preventing mother-to-child transmission—a worthy area of study and one with many success stories, but not fully representative of women’s experiences living with HIV and managing their health.

For example, do women and men respond differently to antiretroviral therapy? And how do hormonal changes throughout a woman’s lifetime affect her HIV health? Heidi Nass at TheBodyPRO.com highlights two posters presented at AIDS 2012 that speak to these important questions (and raise a few others).

HIV Viral Load Suppression Less Likely Among Women than Men; Menopause May Impact CD4 Response

By Heidi Nass

Published July 30, 2012

Hooray for two posters at AIDS 2012 that looked at how men and women respond to antiretroviral treatment. Why hooray? Helena Kwakwa, the primary investigator of one of the studies, said it best right in her abstract: “Despite the changing epidemiology of HIV among women, they are often underrepresented in clinical trials evaluating antiretroviral therapy (ART).” Women comprise more than half of HIV infections worldwide but remain systematically under-represented and under-analyzed in research trials.

These two posters, at least, bucked the trend. Kwakwa et al’s study assessed gender differences in response to antiretroviral therapy, while a study presented by Guilherme Calvet compared pre-menopausal to post-menopausal women in Brazil….

Click here to read the full article on TheBodyPRO.com.

Resources for HIV-Positive Women

Not sure what to do with the news presented in this article? The following online resources and organizations can help you get the most from your medical care and treatment, access services, and advocate for HIV-positive women’s health.

  • TheBody.com’s HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women: State-by-state listing of organizations serving HIV-positive women.
  • The Well Project: Health information and tools for women with HIV.
  • Women Alive: Advocacy, services, and support for women of color and their families living with or affected by HIV in Los Angeles County
  • WORLD: An Oakland, California–based organization providing HIV education, advocacy training, support groups, and peer advocacy for women living with HIV.
  • U.S. Positive Women’s Network: A national network of HIV-positive women and allies organizing and advocating for health justice and meaningful involvement of women in the HIV/AIDS response.

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