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Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2012 Feb;25(1):58-65. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32834ef514.

Women and HIV: motherhood and more.

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  • 1Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.



The number of women living with HIV continues to increase globally. With the availability of efficacious antiretroviral therapy, there is a pressing need to ensure women are treated effectively throughout their life course. This article reviews information on ways that HIV affects women and discusses recent treatment and prevention approaches.


Because women are at greater risk of heterosexual HIV acquisition than men, new data on biomedical approaches to prevention are of particular relevance. International guidelines for the treatment of pregnant women with HIV now place greater weight on the well being of the mother as well as the prevention of vertical transmission. Although effective HIV treatment for women is associated with better health, longer life, reduced infectiousness and prevention of acquisition of HIV, there is evidence that women experience more adverse effects, discontinue medication more frequently and have more problems with adherence than men.


Efficacious anti-HIV drugs exist, but the particular circumstances for women may compromise their effectiveness. Globally, women's access to therapy remains inadequate. More data are needed about the best approaches to HIV therapy for women to include the biological, psychological, social and cultural factors that influence the way women experience HIV infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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