In this podcast, Dr Louise Newson is speaking with Sophie Strachan, director of Sophia Forum, Dr Nneka Nwokolo, honorary HIV clinician and menopause specialist, and Dr Jacqui Stevenson, researcher and advocate for Sophia Forum. Together, they talk about the charity Sophia Forum and their ‘We Are Still Here’ campaign which is calling for:
- Opportunities to pass on experiences
- Peer networks for older women
- Holistic services and standards of care
Dr Jacqui Stevenson recently carried out research exploring women’s experiences of ageing with HIV in London. Many of these women were experiencing menopausal symptoms yet were often receiving inadequate advice and help. Understandably, many women were worried that their symptoms were related to their HIV or their treatment and a large number of women expressed frustration in not receiving the right support or treatment. The expert guests in this podcast discuss how important it is for women to receive education about potential symptoms of the menopause and also health risks related to their low hormones. Jacqui talks in more detail about her research and ways of potentially improving access to evidence-based information worldwide to women living with HIV.
Sophie Strachan, Dr Nneke Nwokolo & Dr Jacqui Stevenson’s Three Take Home messages:
- Women living with HIV should expect the same care and menopause support as women without HIV. These women should not have any less expectations that they can have their symptoms managed.
- It’s important that we break down the silence around issues like HIV and menopause and provide the space for women to demand the care, support and information that they deserve.
- In the context of health professionals, don’t be afraid in how to look after your patients living with HIV. We are asking you to get educated about this condition as we have had to and start having menopause conversations with your patients when they are in their 30s – not 50s!