Sexually active women aged 45–60 who are living with HIV are more likely to have problems with sexual function than women of the same age who are HIV-negative, according to a UK study.
- Women living with HIV were more likely to meet the criteria for low sexual functioning (44.6% vs 22.9%, p and to report at least one sexual problem lasting three months or more in the past year (68.7% vs 54.3%, p
- The greatest differences between the two groups were seen in the domains of anxiety and excitement, and arousal. Lack of interest in sex was the most commonly reported problem in both groups,
- Low sexual function was more common in postmenopausal than in premenopausal women living with HIV (55.6% vs. 40.4%), but this did not hold true for the combined study population.
Data on women living with HIV was taken from the PRIME (Positive TRansItions through the MEnopause) Study, a survey conducted in English HIV clinics. Responses from 386 PRIME participants were compared with those from 1228 women of a similar age in the Natsal-3 study.
This is one of the largest ever analyses of sexual function in midlife women living with HIV, and the first to be conducted in the UK, the authors say. Healthcare professionals may not recognise sexual problems in menopausal women living with HIV, meaning that such problems may go unsupported. The authors call for assessment of sexual function become part of the routine HIV care offered to women living with HIV, regardless of age.