HIV Infection Linked to Early Menopause

HIV patient experiencing pain.
HIV patient experiencing pain.
Researchers studied the average age of menopause, prevalence of early menopause and premature menopause, and correlates of menopause occurring at <45 years in women living with HIV.

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.

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.

Related Articles

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.

“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.

This article originally appeared on Clinical Advisor