Objective: As women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are living longer, more are entering perimenopause. Prior studies suggest that HIV-infected women are more likely to have hot flashes than non–HIV-infected women. However, little is known regarding hot flash severity and hot flash–related interference with daily function, mood, and quality of life in this population.
Methods: Perimenopausal HIV-infected and non–HIV-infected women matched by age, race, and menstrual patterns completed the Menopause Rating Scale (to assess hot flash severity) and the Hot Flash Related Daily Interference Scale (HFRDIS). Menopause Rating Scale and HFRDIS scores and subscores were compared between the groups.
Results: Thirty-three HIV-infected women and 33 non–HIV-infected women who were similar in age (median [interquartile range], 47 [45-48] vs 47 [46-49] y), race (64% vs 52% nonwhite, P = 0.32), and menstrual patterns (number of periods in the past year; 5 [4-9] vs 6 [4-10], P = 0.53) were studied. Perimenopausal HIV-infected women reported greater hot flash severity (HIV vs non-HIV: 2 [1-3] vs 1 [0-3], P = 0.03) and hot flash–related interference (HFRDIS total score, 37 [10-60] vs 6 [0-20], P = 0.001).
Conclusions: Perimenopausal HIV-infected women experience greater hot flash severity and related interference compared with non–HIV-infected perimenopausal women. Increased distress secondary to hot flashes may reduce quality of life and negatively impact important health-promoting behaviors, including adherence to antiretroviral therapy, in HIV-infected women.