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Attitudes toward menopause in HIV-infected and at-risk women

Authors Hartel D, Lo Y, Bauer C, Budner N, Howard AA, Floris-Moore M, Arnsten JH, Santoro N, Schoenbaum EE

Published 12 September 2008 Volume 2008:3(3) Pages 561—566


Diana Hartel1, Yungtai Lo1, Carolyn Bauer2, Nancy Budner1, Andrea A Howard1, Michelle Floris-Moore1, Julia H Arnsten1,2, Nanette Santoro3, Ellie E Schoenbaum1,2,3

1Departments of Epidemiology and Population Health, 2Medicine, and 3Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA

Objective: To study attitudes toward menopause in women with or at risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) aged 35 to 60 in New York City, NY, USA.

Design: Data were obtained at the baseline interview in a cohort study of menopause. Of 502 participating women, 92 were postmenopausal and 162 were perimenopausal.

Results: Overall, 37.5% of women had a relatively favorable attitude toward menopause. African Americans had a 72% greater odds of a positive attitude (OR = 1.72, 95% CI 1.16–2.57) than all other groups after adjusting for covariates. Hispanic women had the least favorable view of menopause. Experience of >3 menopausal symptoms and negative life events—being a witness to a murder, and the death of a child—were significantly associated with negative attitudes towards menopause (OR = 0.62, 95% CI 0.42–0.93 and OR = 0.64, 95% CI 0.43–0.93, respectively). Depressive symptoms, street drug use, and having a domestic partner, which is significant in single variable analyses, did not remain independent predictors in multivariate results. HIV status, menopause status, and age at interview were not associated with menopause attitudes.

Conclusions: HIV-infected, drug-using, low-income women showed generally unfavorable attitudes towards menopause. High stress life events coupled with a high prevalence of depressive symptoms indicate this population has special needs marked by the menopause transition into older age.

Keywords: menopause, attitudes, HIV, street drug users

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