women need answers

Question

dear doctor,

Why haven't any studies been done on hiv infected women and meopause. Do you know if women experience early menopause due to hiv infection ---- wouldn't this be considered and opportunistic infection? How soon after HIV infection would a women experience the first signs of menopause ------ night sweats, hot flashes...?

Answer

The Womens Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is looking into some issues of menopause, so we may know more soon. It is important to realize that other things besides menopause can casue hot flashes and night sweats and these symptoms shoudl be checked out if they occur. It is very difficult to predict the time course of HIV infection and menopause, if in fact HIV shortens the time until menopause occurs it might be related to the viral load, so it would be possible that treatment of the HIV infection could delay this, possible, not proven. I do not think menopause should be considered an opportunistic infection- possibly an endocrine complication of HIV. I agree there is so much more we need to know!

-JC