It has been speculated that women living with HIV are at an increased risk for early menopause. Now results from a study published in Menopause confirm that the median age of menopause for women with HIV was 3 years younger than for women without HIV.

The Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS), a prospective study of women living with HIV ≥16 years of age, conducted an analysis of data from a questionnaire that included demographic information and questions related to menstruation and menopause. Postmenopausal women were further divided into 3 categories: postmenopausal-spontaneous, postmenopausal-induced, and postmenopausal-unknown reason.

The primary outcome was the median age of menopause; secondary outcomes included prevalence of early menopause (menopause between ages 40 and 45 years), premature menopause (menopause <40 years), and factors associated with early menopause and premature menopause.

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After exclusion criteria were applied, a total of 229 women were included in the study; median age was 55 years, and median duration of HIV infection was 15.3 years. A total of 190 women (83.0%) underwent spontaneous menopause; 35 women (15.3%) experienced induced menopause after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy; and 4 women (1.7%) had an unknown reason for cessation of menses.

The median age of menopause was 48 years, and a total of 29.7% experienced menopause before the age of 45 years: 16.6% reported early menopause and 13.1% reported premature menopause. Women who experienced premature menopause were more likely to report induced menopause as the etiology than those with early menopause or those who underwent menopause at ≥45 years of age.

Women were more likely to experience menopause before 45 years of age if they had less than a high school education, had a history of smoking, had ever used recreational drugs, or had a history of hepatitis C coinfection.

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“In this cohort of Canadian women living with HIV, median age of menopause was 48 years, which is 3 years lower than average age of menopause in the general Canadian population [51 years],” the authors concluded.


Andany N, Kaida A, de Pokomandy A, et al. Prevalence and correlates of early-onset menopause among women living with HIV in Canada. Menopause. 2020;27(1):66-75.