Women specific support
The Sophia Forum - promotes and advocates for the rights, health, welfare, and dignity of women living with HIV through research, raising awareness and influencing policy. The Sophia Forum’s HIV and menopause publication - https://
Positively UK Women’s Space - https://
4MNEtwork - https:/
peer-led programme led by Black migrant women. They train women living with HIV across the UK as Mentor Mothers to provide psycho-social support to peers in their pregnancy journey and beyond.
Women HIV need annual smears. These can be done (along with a STI screen if requested) by our nursing staff in clinic. Alternatively, some women prefer for these to be taken by their GP service, we would just ask that you the nursing team know so we can get the results and record on our database.
Some methods of contraception are not suitable, depending on the type of HIV medication you are taking. Some HIV medication and the hormones in some contraception when taken together, may cause the contraceptive to be less effective – meaning a greater chance of you becoming pregnant. This happens as HIV medication and hormonal contraceptives are processed in the liver by the same enzymes. The contraceptive is processed faster than usual when taken with some HIV medication, increasing the risk of pregnancy.
Please check with your doctor or nurse who can investigate this for you before you start taking your chosen contraception method.
Women who are HIV positive can have a healthy pregnancy and healthy, HIV negative baby. Being on HIV treatment, maintaining an undetectable viral load and careful planning pre and post birth all mean that there is a very low risk of a woman living with HIV passing the virus on to her baby. If you are thinking of trying for a baby, if you are already pregnant, or if you think you might be pregnant, do not stop taking your anti-HIV drugs; contact your clinic.
In accordance with national antenatal guidelines, all pregnant women are encouraged to have an HIV test. All babies of HIV positive mothers are under the care of the paediatrics team until they have completed the required HIV testing. We have a HIV specialist Midwife within the team with our own pregnancy protocol and close connections to the antenatal screening, paediatric consultants, and midwifery teams to support you throughout your pregnancy.
Paediatric guidelines indicate that all children who may be at risk of HIV should be tested. Testing is discussed with parents and in an age-appropriate way with children. Testing is strongly encouraged for children who have symptoms, have one or both parents known to be HIV positive, or are children of high-risk parents.
Symptoms of the menopause can be like symptoms of HIV. Although HIV doesn’t make it more difficult for your menopause to be adequately managed, some studies have shown women living with HIV may experience more severe menopausal symptoms and experience more mental health problems. Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) can safely be given to women who are positive. We are able to discuss any concerns you have with your Consultant and nursing team and will discuss with you at annual care plan reviews.