Feb 26, 1998
Dear Mr. Sowadsky,
My question is easy, if your not pregnant could hiv make you miss your period for 5 months?
| Response from Mr. Sowadsky
Hi. Thank you for your question. When a woman stops having her period, the medical term for this is called "secondary amenorrhea". This can be due to multiple causes, the most common of which is pregnancy. However, there are other medical conditions that can lead to secondary amenorrhea. Some of those include:
Rigorous exercise on an ongoing basis
If these conditions are ongoing or are very severe, the chances of secondary amenorrhea are increased.
In regard to HIV specifically, there is some suggestion that some women with HIV may have a greater likelihood of secondary amenorrhea. However, this problem is most likely a result of other causes (like those above), rather than HIV/AIDS itself. For example, in women who have a history of chronically using high doses of heroin, irregular menstrual cycles and amenorrhea may result. These women are also more likely to become infected with HIV (due to needle-sharing when they inject their heroin). So in cases where an HIV positive woman no longer has her period, it appears to be most likely due to other factors (like chronic drug abuse), rather than HIV/AIDS itself.
If you have not had your period for 5 months, this in itself is NOT an indication of HIV infection. But if you are not pregnant, it can indicate a medical problem. Amenorrhea (due to causes other than pregnancy) can lead to significant health problems in women, especially if it continues for prolonged periods of time. If you are no longer having your period, and you are not pregnant, then it is important that you see your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can then determine the reason you are not having your period, and then begin any necessary treatment.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).
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