HIV infection, drug use, and onset of natural menopause

Ellie E. Schoembaum, Diana Hartel, Yungtai Lo, Andrea A. Howard, Michalle Floris-Moore, Julia H. Arnsten, Manette Santoro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Objective. To study the relationship of HIV infection and drug use with the onset of natural menopause. Methods. Our analyses used the World Health Organization's definition of menopause (i.e., the date of the last menstrual period is confirmed after 12 months of amenorrhea) and baseline data from a prospective study. Semiannual interviews were conducted. Levels of HIV antibody and CD4+ cell counts were obtained. Menopause was identified at baseline or during 12 months of follow-up. Women ingesting reproductive hormones were excluded. Logistic regression analyses were used to assess factors associated with menopause. Results. Of 571 women, 53% were HIV infected, and 52% had used heroin or cocaine in the previous 5 years. The median age was 43 years (interquartile range [IQR], 40-46 years); 48.9% of the women were black, 40.4% were Hispanic, and 10.7% were white. The median body mass index was 29.1 kg/m2, and 90.4% of participants were current or former cigarette smokers. Menopause was identified in 102 women: 62 HIV-infected women (median age, 46 years; interquartile range [IQR], 39-49 years) and 40 uninfected women (median age, 47 years; IQR, 44.5-48 years). Factors independently associated with menopause included HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.73; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.075-2.795), drug use (adjusted OR, 2.633; 95% CI, 1.610-4.308), and physical activity (adjusted OR, 0.895; 95% CI, 0.844-0.950). Among HIV-infected women, factors independently associated with menopause included CD4+ cell counts of >500 cells/mm3 (adjusted OR, 0.191; 95% CI, 0.076-0.4848) and 200-500 cells/mm3 (adjusted OR, 0.356; 95% CI, 0.147-0.813). Conclusion. Our study shows that HIV infection and immunosuppression are associated with an earlier age at the onset of menopause. Whether early onset of menopause in HIV-infected women increases their risk of osteoporosis and heart disease requires further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1517-1524
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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