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In Denmark, Nationwide Survey Indicates Romantic Satisfaction Remains Lower for Women With HIV

In Denmark, women living with HIV (WLWH) reported more loneliness and sexual dysfunction than HIV-negative controls. However, there were significant demographic differences between the two groups, and data were collected at different timepoints.

In Denmark, Nationwide Survey Indicates Romantic Satisfaction Remains Lower for Women With HIV
In Denmark, Nationwide Survey Indicates Romantic Satisfaction Remains Lower for Women With HIV

About This Study

Psychosocial, sexual, reproductive and menopausal health in women with and without HIV in a high-income setting” was published online on March 29, 2023, in AIDS. The lead author is Ditte Scofield, M.Sc.H., of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Copenhagen University Hospital in Hvidovre, Denmark.


Key Research Findings

This cross-sectional, self-report survey compared the psychological and sexual health of 144 cisgender WLWH and 1,440 age-matched HIV-negative women in Denmark. The majority of women (66%) in both groups were between the ages of 40 and 59; 18% were between the ages of 18 and 39; and 16% were age 60 and above.


Demographic characteristics differed significantly, with more WLWH being of non-Danish origin (49% of WLWH vs. 3% of controls) and having ≤ 10 years of formal education (20% of WLWH compared to 7% of controls) than HIV-negative participants. Women living with HIV were also more likely to be single and to have no children or one child than HIV-negative controls.


Recurrent loneliness and fewer close friends were reported by significantly more WLWH than controls. Lack of sexual desire was more common among respondents living with HIV than HIV-negative women (26% vs. 8% of each group), as was sexual dysfunction. The frequency of current anxiety or depressive symptoms did not differ by HIV status, nor did menopausal characteristics, including age of onset and symptom severity.


Discussion Highlights and Implications for Practice

Study limitations included data by self-report, a small WLWH sample, demographic differences between the two groups, and separate data collection periods: HIV-negative women were surveyed before the COVID-19 pandemic, while participants living with HIV were questioned at the end of the pandemic.


The authors speculated that greater loneliness may be related to fewer partners, children, or close friends among respondents living with HIV compared to controls. They pointed out that sexual dysfunction and lack of desire are likely interrelated with—and could also be influenced by—equating sex with HIV, since most study participants acquired the virus that way.


Healthcare providers should address loneliness and sexual health with their patients who are living with HIV, study authors recommended. They also suggested qualitative studies into the role HIV stigma may play in the psychosocial and sexual health of WLWH.


Source : https://www.thebodypro.com/article/denmark-romantic-satisfaction-women-hiv-twihr


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