Managing Pain Symptoms in Postmenopausal HIV Patients

Survey Findings May Inform Better, Targeted Treatment Courses

A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing concludes that older HIV positive patients who are postmenopausal are more likely to experience muscle pain and fatigue than other aging HIV-positive individuals. Postmenopausal women are a growing demographic among HIV patients, and the findings may inform better treatment strategies for this population, according to the authors. Coauthor Nancy Reame, PhD, Mary Dickey Lindsay Professor Emerita of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, commented, “A number of studies have described menopause symptoms in women with HIV, but few have examined whether menopause might help explain the enhanced severity of HIV symptoms observed in women when compared to men.” The findings were published online in the journal Menopause.

The findings are based on a national online survey of symptoms experienced by patients living with HIV that was conducted from February to August 2016. Female respondents were then recontacted to assess reproductive status, and their symptoms experience was correlated with status. Postmenopausal respondents were found to suffer greater degrees of muscle ache and fatigue, regardless of duration of HIV infection, age, or other health presentations. Coauthor Rebecca Schnall, PhD, Associate Professor of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, said, “…our findings are very salient for people living with HIV and for their health care providers. If health care providers can better predict, identify, and manage the symptoms that are most burdensome to women living with HIV, they can improve care for these women.”

Read more about the findings.

The journal abstract may be read here.

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