Chicago Tribune Examines ‘Female Face’ of U.S. HIV/AIDS Epidemic
The Chicago Tribune on Wednesday examined the "female face" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, where 30% of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections annually are among women. However, the disease's "toll" on women is probably "much greater" because CDC data concerning women and HIV/AIDS is collected only in 29 states, according to the Tribune. Factors such as sexual abuse and domestic violence can contribute to women's vulnerabilities to HIV, as well as an increase of nonadherence to antiretroviral drug regimens, the Tribune reports. Heterosexual African-American women have a prevalence rate 23 times as much as the rate among white women, according to CDC (Lauerman , Chicago Tribune, 8/18). Women who take antiretroviral drugs have an increased risk of heart disease, resulting from elevated levels of fats in the blood and the fact that antiretrovirals negatively affect women's liver functions to a greater degree than men's, according to Dr. Pat Garcia, director of the Women's HIV Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Because HIV/AIDS patients in the United States are living longer, factors such as menopause also may affect HIV/AIDS in older women. "Will changes in hormonal structure have an effect on immunological issues that women are going through because of their HIV?" Dr. Mardge Cohen, director of the Women and Children's HIV Program at the CORE Center, asked, adding, "We are in the process of (developing an) understanding of how menopause affects HIV" (Lauerman , Chicago Tribune, 8/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.