Testosterone for Her

Reprinted from Being Alive Long Beach The Women's Issue

Not a lot has been known about the effects of testosterone in HIV+ women in need of hormonal therapy. But the results of a new study, reported at the October 1999 national conference on women and AIDS in Los Angles, concluded that HIV+ women can benefit greatly from the use of a testosterone patch to help treat AIDS-related wasting and loss of menses (amenorrhea; loss of monthly periods).

According to Dr. Steven Grinspoon, a researcher at Harvard School of Medicine, HIV+ women who have wasting syndrome have lower than normal testosterone levels. In men, testosterone is produced by the testes; in women testosterone is produced by the adrenal glands (found on top of the kidneys).

In this study, the HIV+ women with wasting who received daily low-dose testosterone patches for 12 weeks saw their weight increase by almost four pounds compared to no weight gain among women who received a placebo patch. Of great excitement was the fact that 5/6 of the women who stopped having their periods as a result of wasting saw their menstruation return while on testosterone therapy.

While more information is definitely needed regarding the positive and negative effects of testosterone therapy in women, the news thus far is promising.

Being Alive Long Beach is a self-help organization by and for people with HIV and AIDS. Women's support groups are scheduled to begin in July of 2001. For information, referrals, or to subscribe to their newsletter please call Doug Williams 562.432.0639