The objective of this study was to describe attitudes, opinions, and perceived health needs of HIV-infected women in the United States. In this cross-sectional study, women were invited to participate in the Women Living Positive survey, a structured interview instrument with 45 questions. Collected data were deidentified and the margin of error was calculated as four percentage points. Incoming toll-free phone interviews were conducted from December 21, 2006, through March 14, 2007 among subjects recruited from a U.S. national network of AIDS counseling centers. Seven hundred HIV-infected women (43% African American, 28.5% Hispanic, 28.5% Caucasian; median age, 42.5 years) receiving combination antiretroviral therapy for 3 years or more replied to recruitment flyers. Overall, 55% of survey participants had never discussed gender-specific HIV treatment issues with their HIV care providers. Of the 45% who did discuss these issues, almost all (96%) were satisfied. On average, one-third of the women had seen three or more providers since beginning HIV treatment; 43% indicated they had switched providers because of communication issues. Among women who had been or were pregnant at the time of the survey (n=159), more than half (57%) had not had pre-pregnancy discussions with their HIV provider about the most appropriate HIV regimens for women attempting to become pregnant. Significant communication gaps exist between HIV-infected women and their providers when discussing gender-specific treatment issues. These data highlight a need for U.S. health care providers to incorporate discussion of gender-specific issues, including preconception and reproductive counseling, into management strategies for HIV-infected women.
Recommended CitationSquires, Kathleen E; Hodder, Sally L; Feinberg, Judith; Bridge, Dawn Averitt; Abrams, Staats; Storfer, Stephen P; and Aberg, Judith A, "Health needs of HIV-infected women in the United States: insights from the women living positive survey." (2011). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 56.