HIV treatments appear to be as effective in women as they are in men. So are the medicines and treatments for HIV-related infections.
Many signs and symptoms of untreated HIV in women are similar to those seen in men. Also, HIV treatments for women appear to be as effective in women as they are in men. So are the medicines and treatments for HIV-related infections.
But some complications from HIV medicines, such as changes in general lab test results, may be different in women than in men. Any complications from HIV medications should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
General symptoms of HIV in women
Both women and men with untreated HIV may have general symptoms that appear early in the disease. These include low-grade fevers, night sweats, feeling very tired (fatigue), and weight loss.
But some conditions from untreated HIV occur at different rates in women and men. Women with untreated HIV:
- Have higher rates of herpes simplex infections
- Are more likely to get bacterial pneumonia
- Are not as likely to get a type of skin cancer known as Kaposi's sarcoma
Symptoms of HIV seen only in women
Several signs of untreated HIV infection occur only in women. Many women with untreated HIV have gynecologic problems linked to HIV. These problems may occur more often, be more severe, last longer, or come back more often than in women without HIV or in women whose HIV is completely suppressed by effective treatment (undetectable viral load). These problems can include:
- Vaginal yeast or bacterial infections
- Other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, which can cause genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer
- Abnormal Pap test (cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition of the cervix linked to HPV)
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Menstrual irregularities