Centring the health of women across the HIV research continuum

Elsevier, The Lancet HIV, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2024, Pages e186-e194, ISSN 2352-3018,
Elizabeth Barr, Leslie J Marshall, Lauren F Collins, Catherine Godfrey, Noelle St Vil, Jamila K Stockman, Dvora L Joseph Davey, Krista Dong, Sarah M Temkin, Mary T Glenshaw, Corette Byrd, Janine A Clayton, Maureen M Goodenow

Despite tremendous advances in HIV research, women and gender diverse people—particularly women from racial and ethnic groups under-represented in research, transgender women, and young women—remain disproportionately affected by HIV. Women and gender diverse people face unique challenges and have been under-represented in HIV research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is tasked to apply fundamental knowledge about the nature and behaviour of living systems to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce disability. Rigorous exploration of—and interventions for—the individual, social, biological, structural, and environmental factors that influence HIV prevention, transmission, treatment, and cure is crucial to advance research for women, girls, and gender diverse people across the lifespan. In this Position Paper, we introduce a framework for an intersectional, equity-informed, data-driven approach to research on HIV and women and highlight selected issues for women and gender diverse people, including HIV prevention, HIV cure, ageing with HIV, substance use and misuse, violence, pregnancy, and breastfeeding or chestfeeding. This framework underlines a new HIV and Women Signature Programme from the NIH Office of AIDS Research and Office of Research on Women's Health that advances the NIH vision for women's health, in which all women receive evidence-based HIV prevention, treatment, and care across their lifespan tailored to their unique needs, circumstances, and goals. The time is now to centre the health of women, girls, and gender diverse people across the HIV research continuum.