HIV and women’s health

Juliet Bennett
Independent Nurse Advisor

While antiretroviral therapy has transformed medical outcomes many challenges remain. Globally HIV/ AIDS is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among women aged 15–49 years [1]. Women, including transgender women, may be particularly vulnerable to HIV infection for a host of reasons, including biological, economical, educational, political and social factors. In addition many women also encounter a range of gender specific challenges to HIV treatment and management of their sexual and reproductive health. This article provides an overview of the common and specific challenges faced by women, and the necessary interventions required to meet their healthcare needs. The nurse’s role in these aspects of HIV prevention and care will also be discussed.
Keywords: women, reproduction, sexuality, menopause, HIV, antiretroviral therapy