Women living with HIV may have a high rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a small study of women at a Baltimore clinic, MedPage Today reports.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study, originally to research the drinking habits of HIV-positive women, among 369 women living with the virus who were recruited from the Johns Hopkins HIV Clinic in Baltimore between 2006 and 2010 and given a structured clinical interview.

Findings were presented at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in San Diego.

Most of the women were African American, middle-aged, unemployed and living in poverty and had a high school education or less.

Forty-three percent of the women met the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis during their lifetime. This compares with a national estimated rate for women of 10 percent.

About a third of the women with PTSD had a detectable viral load, even if they had been given antiretrovirals.

Eighty-two percent of the women in the study experienced at least one major trauma in life, including 39 percent who had been raped—the most common trauma.

Almost half of the women had experienced major depressive disorder at some time in their lives, with 12 percent experiencing the disorder currently.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the conference abstract, click here.