Dr. Lewis explains why HIV positive women experience more complications than HIV positive men.
HIV is different for women in a number of ways in that although HIV doesn’t discriminate, HIV impacts women and that it’s much more complicated for women. Many of the women are confronted with challenges associated with raising children and taking care of themselves.
Oftentimes women will miss medical appointments because they aren’t able to find babysitters to care for their children. Also, we know that men make more money than women and so women are oftentimes faced with challenges associated with missing the financial issues of missing work or not being able to have as much flexibility in discretionary funds to pay for medication or for wellness services.
It also impacts women differently related to their gynecological care. Research has indicated that women with HIV oftentimes suffer from more intensive gynecological problems, things like yeast infections, which are relatively benign, are oftentimes, if they go undiagnosed or untreated, can turn into much more challenging issues.
So women oftentimes will not get treated for or get annual PAP smears or get PAP smears every six months, and so they neglect their care, which can have much more dramatic implications on their HIV.
About Dr. Jennifer Lewis, Ph.D.:
Jennifer Lewis the Director of Prevention and Wellness at the Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS. She oversees HIV prevention for women, men and youth, and wellness which includes medical nutrition, behavioral health and complementary and alternative medicine. She is also the owner of Mosaic Psychotherapy, LLC, a psychotherapy practice that provides consulting and counseling services to individuals and families.