One of the most important things you can do for yourself as an HIV positive woman is to participate in your treatment plan alongside your doctor. Be proactive, by educating yourself about AIDS and staying current on AIDS research and any developing news stories. Discuss any concerns, questions or ideas you have with your doctor.
It is especially important to read about the drugs used to treat HIV positive women. There are many resources available for women to investigate AIDS. Some clinics have treatment educators or advocates that are there to assist you in your quest to learn all you can about AIDS.
Women need to be especially careful when it comes to hormones. They plan an important role in when it comes to speeding up or slowing down certain chemical reactions within your body on a cellular level.
Hormones affect metabolism, your sexual drive, and your fertility. for women, the three main hormones are: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
You may hear them referred to as the “steroid hormones” because they regulate certain aspects of your growth. These three hormones influence your sexual drive. As women age the levels of these hormones decreases
Having AIDS disease, will have an affect on your body’s ability to not only produce these hormones but to regulate the levels of these hormones. When these hormones are out of whack, your body does not function properly.
A woman can experience the following as a result of a hormonal imbalance:
- Irregularities in her menstrual cycle.
Your mood and or behavior by undergo change
Your normal sleep pattern may also change
You may experience a decrease in bone density
Have a decreased sexual drive
difficulty having orgasms
Your vagina may become thin, dry or may easily tear
You may experience difficulty conceiving a child
You may have a difficult pregnancy
A woman’s body is very sensitive to any drop in testosterone level. A drop may cause the woman to experience weight loss, muscle loss, feelings of depression, moodiness, increase your feeling of being tired or fatigued.
Your doctor may perform two different testosterone tests: Total testosterone and free testosterone. If these levels are abnormal your doctor may prescribe testosterone or anabolic steroids to help with weight loss, your lowered sex drive and any other HIV-related symptoms that may be related to your testosterone levels.
Your doctor may refer you to a endocrinologist, a specialist to assist in handling your testosterone replacement therapy. Testosterone supplements come in a variety of forms: injectibles, creams, gels, patches, and tablets. Your levels will need to be monitored as too much testosterone can cause mood changes, your clitoris to become swollen and even facial hair.
Estrogen and Progesterone Levels
Your levels of estrogen and progesterone will also be checked to see if they are normal for HIV positive women. Progesterone is what some call the “feel good” hormone because it has an effect on your mood, your sex drive and how your metabolism functions. It is an important hormone during pregnancy.
Some contraceptives like the popular Norplant and Depo-Provera and progesterone-only birth control pills contain progesterone and eh HIV positive woman should use caution when using these for any length of time. Speak with your doctor if you are taking any of these and you are missing periods, or if your cycles become shorter or longer or you experience increased pre-menstrual symptoms.
Your doctor will want to check your estrogen level if you are experiencing bone density changes.