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POST MENAPAUSAL
Dec 23, 2001

Are post-menpausal women more likely to acquire HIV? Read an article about this and wanted to know if it is aqurate according to studies.

Response from Dr. Aberg

I do not know what article you are referring to. There have been reports of increased risk among post-menopausal women but it is most likely due to change in social behavior than for scientific reasons. Many older women do not feel like they are at risk for acquiring HIV. Hence the myths of HIV. "It occurs in people who use drugs or are gay or some other reason. But it cannot happen to me!" Obviously, this is not true. HIV can infect anyone and it affects us all.

Women frequently use condoms for birth control reasons and in turn, reduces the transmission of HIV and other STD's. But women who are post menopausal are no longer concerned about pregnancy and they are more likely not to use a condom. Again, they also feel that HIV doesn't infect "older people" so thay have a false sense of security. Some experts have suggested that post menopausal women may also be at risk because of potential trauma to the mucosal lining of the vagina secondary to decreased production of secretions with age. Many post menopausal women due use lubricants and it is important to note what type you are using. Some lubricants may be associated with condom breakage. Ask your local pharmacist if you have any questions about the type of lubricants.


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