Objective: There is conflicting literature to support a link between HIV and amenorrhea. Here, we conduct a meta-analysis to summarize the results from landmark studies in this area and shed light on this important clinical association.
Methods: Using a search of Ovid Medline and Embase, a total of 322 articles were screened for controlled matched observational studies of amenorrhea in premenopausal women living with HIV (WLWH). For inclusion, amenorrhea was defined as absence of menses for 3 months or longer. The meta-analysis used a random-effects model with an I2 calculated to assess heterogeneity.
Results: Six studies from 1996 to 2010 were included in our analysis for a total of 8925 women (6570 WLWH). There was a significant association between HIV status and amenorrhea (OR 1.68, P value 0.0001) without evidence of heterogeneity (I2: 0.0%). In the majority of studies, there was no significant difference in substance use, smoking, or socioeconomic status between WLWH and controls. Additionally, in the majority of studies, amenorrhea in the setting of low BMI was significantly more frequent in WLWH than controls.
Conclusion: This meta-analysis provides a large population assessment of amenorrhea in HIV to suggest increased prevalence of menstrual disturbances in WLWH. It lends evidence suggestive that this relation is independent of substance use and socioeconomic status, but may be related to low BMI. Our findings reinforce the importance of routine assessment of reproductive health and time of last menstrual period as part of the health assessment of women, especially those living with HIV.