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Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004
THEME ISSUE
ICEID & ICWID 2004

ICWID Session Summaries

Impact of HIV on Women in the United States

Hazel D. Dean*Comments to Author , Lisa M. Lee*, Melanie Thompson†, and Tracy Dannemiller‡
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; †AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; ‡Lakeland, Florida, USA

Suggested citation for this article

In the United States, AIDS was first reported in women in 1981 (1), and the percentage of AIDS cases in women has continued to increase, accounting for an estimated 26% of new AIDS diagnoses in 2002 (2). Since 1998, deaths among women with AIDS in the United States have remained stable at an estimated 4,000 (2).

Epidemiologic Features of HIV in Women, United States

Data from 29 states with confidential name-based HIV reporting since 1998 were used to describe the status of HIV disease among women from 1999 through 2002. HIV diagnoses were defined as diagnoses of HIV infection regardless of AIDS diagnosis status. This diagnosis includes persons with a diagnosis of HIV infection only, HIV infection and later AIDS diagnosis, or concurrent diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS.

From 1999 through 2002, an estimated 101,872 HIV diagnoses were reported from 29 states: 72,007 (70.7%) in men and 29,865 (29.3%) in women. Among women, 71.9% were non-Hispanic blacks, 18.2% were non-Hispanic whites, 8.4% were Hispanics, 0.6% were American Indian/Alaska Natives, and 0.4% were Asian/Pacific Islanders. The two principal modes of HIV exposure for women were heterosexual contact and injection drug use, accounting for 77.7% and 20.5% of diagnoses among women, respectively. Women were diagnosed with HIV at younger ages than men. For the 4-year period, 31.3% of women with HIV were in the 13- to 29-year age group compared with 19.9% of men in the same age group. HIV diagnosis rates were consistently higher among non-Hispanic black women compared with women from other racial and ethnic groups for all 4 years.

Prevention Strategies for Women

In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced the Advancing HIV Prevention (AHP) initiative (3). AHP aims to reduce barriers to early diagnosis of HIV infection, increase access to quality medical care and treatment, and provide ongoing prevention services for persons living with HIV. AHP incorporates four priority strategies: make voluntary HIV testing a routine part of medical care, implement new models for diagnosing HIV infections outside of the medical settings, prevent new infections by working with persons diagnosed with HIV and their partners, and decrease perinatal transmission.

Clinical Care of Women with HIV

HIV-infected women may be at increased risk for medical problems and metabolic changes. Studies have shown that HIV-positive women were more likely to develop genital warts and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (4) and were at increased risk for viral infections (5). According to one study, HIV-positive women were 80% more likely to be anemic than HIV-positive men (6). Compared with HIV-negative controls, women with HIV were more likely to have elevated triglycerides and insulin levels (7) and decreased bone mineral density (8).

Determining when to initiate antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected women is based on CD4+ T cell count (9). Because no gender difference exists for initiating or applying antiretroviral drug regimens, the guidelines for treating women are the same as those for treating men. Overall, drug efficacy does not differ by gender in randomized clinical trials.

For many reasons, women with HIV may avoid HIV testing and care. Often, women may be stigmatized and endure discrimination because of their HIV-status. Women are often the primary caregivers for other family members, which may lead to avoiding or delaying testing and care. Economic dependence on a spouse or significant other may also play a role in whether a woman seeks testing and care. Mistrust of the healthcare system may also exist. Depression or domestic violence may also affect a woman’s ability to seek needed care for HIV infection.

Incorporating HIV Prevention into Medical Care

In 2003, CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America issued recommendations to assist clinicians in integrating HIV prevention into primary care for HIV-infected persons. Providers are encouraged to deliver brief prevention messages during primary care visits, screen for HIV risk behaviors and sexually transmitted disease, provide HIV behavioral risk-reduction messages, and facilitate partner notification and counseling (10).

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow-up on Kaposi’s sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1981;30:40910.PubMed
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV AIDS Surveill Rep. 2002;14:140.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advancing HIV prevention: new strategies for a changing epidemic—United States, 2003. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003;52:32932.PubMed
  4. Massad LS, Silverberg M, Springer G, Evans C, Passaro DJ, Strickler HD, Genital expression of human papillomavirus infections in women with HIV: predicting incidence of vulvar warts and vulvar neoplasia and the course of grade 1 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. In: Program and abstracts of the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; February 8–11, 2004; San Francisco, California. Abstract 150. [cited 2004 Apr 5]. Available from http://www.retroconference.org/2004/cd/Abstract/150.htm
  5. Stover CT, Smith DK, Schmid DS, Pellett PE, Stewart JA, Klein RS, Prevalence of and risk factors for viral infections among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and high-risk HIV-uninfected women. J Infect Dis. 2003;187:138896. DOIPubMed
  6. Mildvan D, Creagh T; Anemia Prevalence Study Group. Anemia more prevalent in women and African Americans with HIV/AIDS. In: Program and abstracts of the 1st IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment; July 7–11, 2001; Buenos Aires, Argentina. Abstract 319. [cited 2004 Apr 5]. Available from http://www.ias.se/abstract/show.asp?abstract_id=319
  7. Currier JS, Grunfeld C, Saag MS, Shevitz AH, van der Horst CM, Veronese F. Losses and gains—insights from the preliminary results of the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic in HIV Infection Study (FRAM). Presented at: Satellite symposium at the 2nd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment; July 25 2003; Paris, France.
  8. Anastos K, Hessol N. The association of bone mineral density with HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment in women. In: Program and abstracts of the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; February 8–11, 2004; San Francisco, California. Abstract 744. [cited 2004 Apr 5]. Available from http://www.retroconference.org/2004/cd/Abstract/744.htm
  9. Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral agents in HIV-infected adults and adolescents: recommendations of the Panel on Clinical Practices for Treatment of HIV. [cited 2004 Apr 5]. Available from http://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines/adult/AA_032304.html
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Incorporating HIV prevention into the medical care of persons living with HIV: recommendations of CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2003;52(RR-12):124.PubMed

Suggested citation for this article: Dean HD, Lee LM, Thompson M, Dannemiller T. Impact of HIV on women in the United States. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2004 Nov [date cited]. Available from http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/10/11/04-0623_08.htm

DOI: 10.3201/eid1011.040623_08

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Table of Contents – Volume 10, Number 11—November 2004

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Hazel D. Dean, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd., NE, Mailstop E07, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; fax: 404-639-8629





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