Introduction In 2014 there were an estimated 103,700 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the UK, approximately one third were women. In 2015 there were 965 PLHIV in our cohort, 215 were women. There are few data available on HAART in women, other than in pregnancy. Socio-economic and cultural factors may also affect their ability to access care. Other factors affecting women include contraception, conception and pregnancy.
Methods A retrospective chart analysis was carried out on all new diagnoses among women over a 3-year period, from April 2013 to April 2016. Patients who had previously been diagnosed elsewhere were excluded.
Results There were 286 new diagnoses of HIV in this period; 44 (15%) were women. 41% of patients were local, 39% were of African origin. 57% of patients were diagnosed late, having CD4 <350 at diagnosis. 8 patients were pregnant; there were no vertical transmissions. Existing children were tested were possible; no positive diagnoses were made. A number of male partners were diagnosed through partner notification. The majority of patients commenced HAART and reported good adherence.
Discussion Women make up a significant proportion of PLHIV, though rates in our region are lower than in the rest of the UK. The majority of positive women in the UK are of black African origin, though in our cohort a higher proportion were born locally. Many of these women are diagnosed late, and with no identifiable traditional risk factors. There are a number of important gender-specific factors associated with HIV-positive women and these should not be underappreciated.
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