Women's Health

FAQ: Addressing the Needs of Patients Living With HIV

Get answers to questions about caring for patients living with HIV and questions of HIV-related disease. Plus, learn about discussing risks with patients.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses have declined in the U.S. in recent years, but women still make up a large portion of those diagnosed. Patients living with HIV have unique health needs in addition to their overall wellness and gynecologic care. Here are some common questions related to HIV care and how to talk to patients about lifestyle or health factors that can increase their risk.

  1. What do cisgender women with HIV need to know about gynecologic care? About half of the individuals diagnosed with HIV around the world are women and girls. Your patients may have questions about cisgender women and HIV, particularly in regard to related conditions that affect gynecologic health. Learn more about HIV-related conditions and what to discuss with patients.
  2. What's new and coming for female and male contraceptive options? Family planning and pregnancy prevention are common topics for OB/GYNs. Patients have an increasing number of options, including new approvals from the FDA and research into cisgender male contraceptive options. This article provides a look at what has recently been approved and what is in clinical trials.
  3. What should OB/GYNs understand about providing care for lesbian and bisexual patients? Lesbian and bisexual patients face disparities in care and may avoid seeking medical treatment due to fear of discrimination. Marginalized patients face certain health risks and may need care that addresses stress, fears and other factors that affect their overall health. Learn more about the risks that lesbian and bisexual patients face, ways to address them, and how to create an open and inclusive practice.
  4. How can the university OB/GYN provide optimal care to young patients? Many patients in college don't have a relationship with a primary care provider, given that they're no longer at home and may have moved beyond their pediatric practice. Responsible for their own health for the first time, they may need help managing their wellness and sexual health. Find advice here on how to build trust with young patients and what care they want and need.
  5. What role can gene editing play in IVF? The possibilities with gene editing have been rapidly advancing in the past decade. This holds promise for in vitro fertilization (IVF), giving hope to parents who want to avoid passing on a genetic abnormality. But, how far should one go in using gene editing during embryo development? The question is fraught with controversy. Learn more about what's happening and where the concerns lie.
  6. What do your patients need to know about PID prevention? Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is most often caused by exposure to a sexually transmitted infection. Regardless, anyone who is sexually active is at risk. PID can increase a patient's risk of contracting HIV. It can also cause a significant burden of cost for patients and the health industry. That's why prevention is key. Learn how to talk to patients about the best prevention methods as well as treatment options available.

Patients look to their physicians to provide a safe space to discuss sensitive medical issues. Many young patients may be worried about their risk of getting HIV. And patients living with HIV can experience fear or discrimination for a variety of reasons. Having open, empathetic discussions can help patients get the information they need while feeling supported in their care.