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Antivir Ther. 2009;14(1):85-92.

Body image is a major determinant of sexual dysfunction in stable HIV-infected women.

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Universita di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Antivir Ther. 2009;14(3):465. Vincenzo, Rochira [corrected to Rochira, Vincenzo].



Prevalence and factors associated with sexual dysfunction in HIV-positive women are poorly known.


This was a cross-sectional study in a cohort of HIV-infected women. Clinically stable women were invited to participate in a female sexual dysfunction (FSD) evaluation with Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) exploring desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain and satisfaction. An FSFI score <23 was used for defining FSD. Variables evaluated included body appearance satisfaction, interference of body changes with habits, social life and attitudinal aspects of body image, health-related quality of life, hormonal assessment, menopause, cumulative exposure to antiretroviral drug classes and immune-virological parameters. Lipodystrophy was defined according to the HIV Outpatient Study definition.


A total of 185 women completed the FSFI. The mean (+/-SD) age was 42 years (+/-5), 27% had CDC stage C, the mean (+/-SD) CD4+ T-cell count was 508 cells/microl (+/-251) and median HIV RNA was 1.7 log10 copies/ml (interquartile range 1.7-2.6). Among 161 evaluable patients, 59 (32%) reported FSD. In a multiple linear regression analysis, desire, arousal and satisfaction domains were associated with interference of body changes with habits, social life and attitudinal aspects of body image (beta = 0.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.06-0.37; beta = 0.29, 95% CI 0.10-0.48; and beta = 0.20, 95% CI 0.02-0.38, respectively). Lubrication and orgasm domains were associated with body image satisfaction (beta = -0.49, 95% CI -0.88 - -0.10 and beta = -0.58, 95% CI -1.00 - -0.16, respectively). No significant associations with sex hormones, CDC stage, CD4+ T-cell count, HIV RNA viral load and cumulative exposure to antiretroviral drug classes were found. In women with FSD, severity of self-perceived abdominal fat accumulation showed a trend towards lower FSFI scores (ANOVA P = 0.02).


FSD was highly prevalent in this cohort. Self-perceived body changes was identified as its major determinant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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