Age at menopause in women living with HIV: A systematic review
Importance: With improved HIV care, more women living with HIV (WLWH) are aging and entering menopause. Understanding any increased risk conferred by a potentially earlier menopause transition is important for the care of these women.
Objective: There is conflicting literature regarding the association between HIV and an earlier onset of menopause. We conducted a systematic review to summarize the literature on the association between HIV and age at menopause.
Evidence review: A search of Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science identified 894 articles. We included cohort studies that assessed age at menopause, primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), or early menopause among WLWH and used the World Health Organization definition of menopause as ≥12 months of amenorrhea.
Findings: Nine studies were included and eight reported on age at menopause. Across studies, the age at menopause for WLWH fell between 46 and 50 years. Five of seven studies reported that WLWH had an earlier menopausal transition than HIV negative controls/the general population. Six studies reported on the prevalence of POI or early menopause among WLWH, with all studies demonstrating an increased prevalence of both among WLWH.
Conclusions: Our systematic review summarizes the literature around HIV and age at menopause. Many studies reported a high prevalence of POI and early menopause among WLWH; a factor that may partially account for the observed lower age at menopause. As only one study included biochemical confirmation of menopause, it remains unclear whether individuals with early menopause or POI were truly menopausal or had prolonged amenorrhea due to other causes. Overall, our findings highlight the need for further investigation with studies that include an HIV negative control group and biochemical confirmation of menopause to better understand whether menopause truly is occurring earlier among WLWH.
Van Ommen CE, King EM, Murray MCM
- General HIV+ population