HIV Becoming Women's Disease

CHICAGO-A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationsays HIV is increasingly becoming a women's disease. Further research is necessary on HIV pathogenesis and therapy in women.

The study reviewed surveillance and prospective cohort studies published between 1981 and 2000 and scientific conference presentations from January, 1999, to July, 2000 in which at least 20 women were enrolled. The review provided epidemiologic, clinical, psychological, and behavioral information about HIV in women and to provide recommendations for the future.

The research shows during the past 15 years, women account for an increased percentage of HIV-infected patients. In 1986, 6.7% of HIV-infected patients were women in comparison to 32% of newly reported HIV diagnoses in 1999.

The study also showed that women are less likely than men to use antiretroviral therapy, although the reason remains unclear. Several issues have been identified that interfere with women preventing or receiving adequate therapy for HIV disease. Those issues include: illicit drug use, high-risk sexual behaviors, depression, and unmet social needs.

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