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1.  Potential cardiovascular disease risk markers among HIV-infected women initiating antiretroviral treatment 
Inflammation and hemostasis perturbation may be involved in vascular complications of HIV infection. We examined atherogenic biomarkers and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected adults before and after beginning highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
In the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), 127 HIV-infected women studied pre- and post-HAART were matched to HIV-uninfected controls. Six semi-annual measurements of soluble CD14, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, soluble interleukin (IL)-2 receptor, IL-6, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, D-dimer, and fibrinogen were obtained. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) was measured by B-mode ultrasound.
Relative to HIV-uninfected controls, HAART-naïve HIV-infected women had elevated levels of soluble CD14 (1945 vs 1662 ng/mL, Wilcoxon signed rank P<0.0001), TNF-alpha (6.3 vs 3.4 pg/mL, P<0.0001), soluble IL-2 receptor (1587 vs 949 pg/mL, P<0.0001), IL-10 (3.3 vs 1.9 pg/mL, P<0.0001), MCP-1 (190 vs 163 pg/mL, P<0.0001) and D-dimer (0.43 vs 0.31 µg/mL, P<0.01). Elevated biomarker levels declined after HAART. While most biomarkers normalized to HIV-uninfected levels, in women on effective HAART, TNF-alpha levels remained elevated compared to HIV-uninfected women (+0.8 pg/mL, P=0.0002). Higher post-HAART levels of soluble IL-2 receptor (P=0.02), IL-6 (P=0.05), and D-dimer (P=0.03) were associated with increased CIMT.
Untreated HIV infection is associated with abnormal hemostasis (e.g., D-dimer), and pro-atherogenic (e.g., TNF-alpha) and anti-atherogenic (e.g., IL-10) inflammatory markers. HAART reduces most inflammatory mediators to HIV-uninfected levels. Increased inflammation and hemostasis are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis in recently treated women. These findings have potential implications for long-term risk of cardiovascular disease in HIV-infected patients, even with effective therapy.
PMCID: PMC3400505  PMID: 22592585
antiretroviral therapy; cardiovascular diseases; cytokines; hemostasis; HIV; inflammation
2.  Effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy and its adherence on herpes zoster incidence: a longitudinal cohort study 
Herpes zoster (HZ) is common among HIV-infected individuals, but the impacts of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and HAART adherence on HZ risk have not been well studied.
The effects of HAART and HAART adherence on HZ incidence were evaluated by comparing HIV-infected women on HAART (HAART use group) with the HIV-infected women remaining HAART naïve (HAART naïve group) in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). A 1:1 matching with propensity score for predicting HAART initiation was conducted to balance background covariates at index visit, including HIV disease stage. Kaplan-Meier method was used to compare the risk of HZ development between the matched pairs. Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess the effects of HAART and HAART adherence on HZ incidence.
Through propensity score matching, 389 pairs of participants were identified and they contributed 3,909 person years after matching. The background covariates were similar between the matched pairs at the index visit. The participants had a mean age around 39 years old, and about 61% of them were Black and 22% were Latina. No significant difference in HZ risk was observed between the HAART use group and the HAART naïve group during the first year of follow-up in any analyses. In the univariate analysis, the HAART use group had marginally lower HZ risk (Hazard Ratio (HR): 0.72; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.48-1.1) over the entire follow-up period. However, women with a HAART adherence level of ≥95% had significantly lower HZ risk (HR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.94) compared to the HAART naïve women. The association remained significant after adjusting for quality of life score and acyclovir use, but it attenuated and was no longer statistically significant after adjusting for an intermediate variable, either CD4+ T cell counts or HIV viral load.
Among adult women, we observed a significant preventive effect of long-term HAART use on HZ incidence when a HAART adherence level of ≥95% was attained, and this effect was mediated through reduction of HIV viral load and improvement of CD4+ T cell counts.
PMCID: PMC3904465  PMID: 24373482
HAART; Adherence; Herpes zoster; Incidence; Propensity score
Antiviral therapy  2011;16(4):591-596.
We previously reported an increased risk of all-cause and AIDS mortality among HIV-infected women with albuminuria (proteinuria or microalbuminuria) enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) prior to the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
The current analysis includes 1,073 WIHS participants who subsequently initiated HAART. Urinalysis for proteinuria and semi-quantitative testing for microalbuminuria from two consecutive study visits prior to HAART initiation were categorized as follows: confirmed proteinuria (both specimens positive for protein), confirmed microalbuminuria (both specimens positive with at least one microalbuminuria), unconfirmed albuminuria (one specimen positive for proteinuria or microalbuminuria), or negative (both specimens negative). Time from HAART initiation to death was modeled using proportional hazards analysis.
Compared to the reference group of women with two negative specimens, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality was significantly elevated for women with confirmed microalbuminuria (HR 1.9; 95% CI 1.2–2.9). Confirmed microalbuminuria was also independently associated with AIDS death (HR 2.3; 95% CI 1.3–4.3), while women with confirmed proteinuria were at increased risk for non-AIDS death (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2–4.6).
In women initiating HAART, pre-existing microalbuminuria independently predicted increased AIDS mortality, while pre-existing proteinuria predicted increased risk of non-AIDS death. Urine testing may identify HIV-infected individuals at increased risk for mortality even after the initiation of HAART. Future studies should consider whether these widely available tests can identify individuals who would benefit from more aggressive management of HIV infection and comorbid conditions associated with mortality in this population.
PMCID: PMC3119869  PMID: 21685547
HIV; microalbuminuria; proteinuria; mortality; non-AIDS death
4.  The Impact of HAART on the Respiratory Complications of HIV Infection: Longitudinal Trends in the MACS and WIHS Cohorts 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58812.
To review the incidence of respiratory conditions and their effect on mortality in HIV-infected and uninfected individuals prior to and during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Two large observational cohorts of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men (Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study [MACS]) and women (Women’s Interagency HIV Study [WIHS]), followed since 1984 and 1994, respectively.
Adjusted odds or hazards ratios for incident respiratory infections or non-infectious respiratory diagnoses, respectively, in HIV-infected compared to HIV-uninfected individuals in both the pre-HAART (MACS only) and HAART eras; and adjusted Cox proportional hazard ratios for mortality in HIV-infected persons with lung disease during the HAART era.
Compared to HIV-uninfected participants, HIV-infected individuals had more incident respiratory infections both pre-HAART (MACS, odds ratio [adjusted-OR], 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2–2.7; p<0.001) and after HAART availability (MACS, adjusted-OR, 1.5; 95%CI 1.3–1.7; p<0.001; WIHS adjusted-OR, 2.2; 95%CI 1.8–2.7; p<0.001). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was more common in MACS HIV-infected vs. HIV-uninfected participants pre-HAART (hazard ratio [adjusted-HR] 2.9; 95%CI, 1.02–8.4; p = 0.046). After HAART availability, non-infectious lung diseases were not significantly more common in HIV-infected participants in either MACS or WIHS participants. HIV-infected participants in the HAART era with respiratory infections had an increased risk of death compared to those without infections (MACS adjusted-HR, 1.5; 95%CI, 1.3–1.7; p<0.001; WIHS adjusted-HR, 1.9; 95%CI, 1.5–2.4; p<0.001).
HIV infection remained a significant risk for infectious respiratory diseases after the introduction of HAART, and infectious respiratory diseases were associated with an increased risk of mortality.
PMCID: PMC3595204  PMID: 23554932
5.  HIV As a Risk Factor for Lung Cancer in Women: Data From the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1514-1519.
Prior reports of an increased risk of lung cancer in HIV-infected individuals have not always included control groups, nor considered other risk factors such as tobacco exposure. We sought to determine the role of HIV infection and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on lung cancer incidence in 2,651 HIV-infected and 898 HIV-uninfected women from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
A prospective study of the incidence rates of lung cancer was conducted, with cases identified through medical records, death certificates, and state cancer registries. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated to compare lung cancer incidence among HIV-infected and uninfected WIHS participants, with population-based expectations using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry. Behavioral characteristics in the WIHS were compared to US women by age and race adjusting the population-based data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III.
Incidence rates of lung cancer were similar among HIV-infected and uninfected WIHS women. Lung cancer SIRs were increased in both HIV-infected and -uninfected women compared with population expectations, but did not differ by HIV status. Among HIV-infected women, lung cancer incidence rates were similar in pre-HAART and HAART eras. All WIHS women with lung cancer were smokers; the risk of lung cancer increased with cumulative tobacco exposure. WIHS women were statistically more likely to smoke than US women studied in NHANES III.
HIV infection is strongly associated with smoking behaviors that increase lung cancer risk. The role of HIV itself remains to be clarified.
PMCID: PMC2849771  PMID: 20177022
6.  Depressive Symptoms are Increased in the Early Perimenopausal Stage in Ethnically Diverse HIV+ and HIV− Women 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2012;19(11):1215-1223.
The risk of clinically significant depressive symptoms increases during the perimenopause. With highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), more HIV-infected women survive to transition through the menopause. In a cross-sectional analysis, we evaluated the association of menopausal stage and vasomotor symptoms with depressive symptoms in an ethnically diverse, cohort of women with a high prevalence of HIV.
Participants included 835 HIV-infected women and 335 HIV-uninfected controls from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; 63% African-American). The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale was used to screen for elevated depressive symptoms. Menopausal stages were defined according to standard definitions. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of elevated depressive symptoms.
Compared to premenopausal women, early perimenopausal (OR 1.74, 95%CI 1.17–2.60), but not late perimenopausal or postmenopausal women were more likely to show elevated depressive symptoms in adjusted analyses. The odds were similar in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. Persistent vasomotor symptoms also predicted elevated depressive symptoms in HIV-infected and uninfected women (OR 1.45, 95%CI 1.02–2.06). In HIV-infected women, menopausal stage interacted with antiretroviral use (p=0.02); the likelihood of elevated depressive symptoms in early perimenopause compared with premenopause was especially high in HAART-untreated women (OR 3.87, 95%CI 1.57–9.55).
In HIV+ and HIV− women, the odds of elevated depressive symptoms were significantly higher during the early perimenopause. Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with nonadherence to HAART, underscoring the importance of screening and treating depressive symptoms in HIV+ women who have experienced a change in the regularity of their menstrual cycles.
PMCID: PMC3483358  PMID: 22872013
HIV; Depression; Menopause; Perimenopause; African American; Vasomotor
7.  Association between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and stiffness of the common carotid artery 
Background and purpose
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) may have an increased risk for cardiovascular-related events, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. We tested the hypothesis that carotid arterial stiffness was higher among persons taking HAART compared to HAART-naïve and HIV-uninfected persons.
Between 2004 and 2006, we performed high resolution B-mode ultrasound on 2,789 HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; 1865 women) and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS; 924 men) and determined carotid arterial distensibility, a direct measure of carotid arterial stiffness. We used generalized estimating equations to evaluate the association between distensibility and HIV infection, CD4+ cell count, and exposure to HAART adjusted for demographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics.
In multivariable analysis, distensibility was 4.3% lower (95% confidence interval (CI): -7.4% to -1.1%) among HIV-infected versus uninfected participants. Among HIV-infected participants with fewer than 200 CD4+ cells, distensibility was 10.5% lower (95% CI: -14.5% to -6.2%) than that among HIV-uninfected participants, and this effect did not differ significantly by cohort or race. Concurrent HAART use was independently associated with lower distensibility among MACS participants but not among WIHS participants.
Our finding that advanced HIV-related immunosuppression was associated with increased carotid arterial stiffness independent from the effects of traditional atherosclerosis risk factors suggests that the etiologic mechanism underlying reports of an increased cardiovascular disease risk among HIV-infected individuals might involve HIV-related immunosuppression leading to vascular dysfunction and arterial stiffening.
PMCID: PMC2972735  PMID: 20798374
atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; carotid arteries; HIV; epidemiology
8.  The Impact of Kidney Function at HAART Initiation on Mortality in HIV-infected Women 
In the early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era, kidney dysfunction was strongly associated with death among HIV-infected individuals. We re-examined this association in the later HAART period to determine whether chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains a predictor of death after HAART-initiation.
To evaluate the effect of kidney function at the time of HAART initiation on time to all-cause mortality, we evaluated 1415 HIV-infected women initiating HAART in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Multivariable proportional hazards models with survival times calculated from HAART initiation to death were constructed; participants were censored at the time of the last available visit or December 31, 2006.
CKD (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) at HAART initiation was associated with higher mortality risk adjusting for age, race, hepatitis C serostatus, AIDS history and CD4+ cell count (hazard ratio [HR]=2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45–3.43). Adjustment for hypertension and diabetes history attenuated this association (HR=1.89, CI: 0.94–3.80). Lower kidney function at HAART initiation was weakly associated with increased mortality risk in women with prior AIDS (HR=1.09, CI: 1.00–1.19, per 20% decrease in eGFR).
Kidney function at HAART initiation remains an independent predictor of death in HIV-infected individuals, especially in those with a history of AIDS. Our study emphasizes the necessity of monitoring kidney function in this population. Additional studies are needed to determine mechanisms underlying the increased mortality risk associated with CKD in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3243740  PMID: 20581688
kidney disease; mortality; HIV; WIHS; antiretroviral therapy
9.  Live birth patterns among HIV-infected women before and after the availability of HAART 
To investigate the relationship between HIV infection and childbearing before and after the availability of HAART.
Study Design
Enrollment in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study took place in 1994–1995 (pre-HAART era), and again in 2001–2002 (HAART era). Live birth rates prior to enrollment were compared between treatment era cohorts for HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women aged 15–44 years using Poisson regression. For HIV-infected women we included live births between HIV diagnosis date and study entry; the HAART era cohort included only women diagnosed with HIV in 1996 and after.
Among HIV-infected women, the HAART era live birth rate was 150% higher than in the pre-HAART era (p=.001), vs. a 5% increase among HIV-uninfected women. The rate of increase in live birth rate was higher for women ≥35 years (vs. <25, p=.02), and with >high school education (vs.
The availability of effective therapeutic interventions has profoundly impacted childbearing among HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC1949426  PMID: 17547887
HIV; women; reproductive decision-making; birth rate; highly active antiretroviral therapy
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(5):469-476.
Despite use of HAART, cognitive impairment remains prevalent in HIV. Indeed, a recent study suggested that in certain instances, stopping HAART was associated with improved cognitive function (Robertson et al. 2010). HAART is occasionally associated with cardiovascular pathology and such pathology may be associated with cognitive impairment. To explore these associations, we assessed the relative contributions of cardiovascular variables such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, of HIV and HAART to cognition. Participants were members of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). In analysis of cross-sectional data using general linear models we assessed the relationship between each cardiovascular variable and Stroop interference time and symbol digit modalities test while adjusting for age, HIV, education, depression, and race/ethnicity. We also analyzed the association of summary measures of HAART use with cognition. In multivariate models significance was limited to carotid lesions and carotid intima-medial thickness quintile (CIMT) with Stroop interference time (for carotid lesions, coefficient = 10.5, CI: 3.5 to 17.5, p = 0.003, N = 1130; for CIMT quintile, coefficient = 8.6, CI = 1.7 to 15.4, p = 0.025, N = 1130). Summary measures of protease inhibitor use and other HAART measures were in most cases not associated with cognitive score in multivariate models. We conclude that in the HAART era among middle-aged women with HIV, carotid disease may be significantly associated with some measures of cognitive impairment. In this cross-sectional study, we could detect neither positive nor negative effects of HAART on cognition.
PMCID: PMC3509940  PMID: 22006469
Cognition; HIV; Women; Hypertension; Atherosclerosis; Middle-Aged
The Journal of infectious diseases  2006;193(9):1202-1210.
To evaluate the impact of hepatitis C virus (HCV) on the immune system before receipt of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and on immune recovery after receipt of HAART among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/HCV–coinfected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study.
The study included 294 HIV-infected women who initiated HAART and attended 2 follow-up visits. The women were grouped on the basis of positive HCV antibody and HCV RNA tests. There were 148 women who were HCV antibody negative, 34 who were HCV antibody positive but RNA negative, and 112 who were HCV antibody and RNA positive. Immune recovery was measured by flow-cytometric assessment for markers of activation and maturation on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Data analysis used repeated measures of variance.
HIV/HCV coinfection is associated with an increased number of CD4+ and CD8+ primed/memory T cells. HIV/HCV coinfection, however, did not affect any further decreases in CD4+ or CD4+ and CD8+ naive/memory T cell counts or enhanced T cell activation. HIV/HCV coinfection also did not affect HAART responses in the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell compartment.
HCV does not affect immune responses to HAART in HIV/HCV–coinfected individuals but is associated with an expansion of CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cell subsets. Functional impairment in the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell compartments still needs to be assessed in coinfected patients.
PMCID: PMC3126663  PMID: 16586355
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(12):1009-1016.
Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and the subsequent increased life expectancy in HIV-infected persons, non-HIV–related diseases have become an important cause of morbidity and mortality. This cross-sectional study reports the prevalence of overweight and obesity, and sociodemographic, psychological, and substance use-related risk factors for elevated body mass index (BMI) among 2157 HIV-seropositive (HIV+) in comparison to 730 HIV-seronegative (HIV−) participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Separate univariable and multivariate linear regression analyses were completed for HIV+ and HIV− women. Our study revealed a similar proportion of obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥30) among HIV+ (33%) and HIV− women (29%) (p = 0.12), as well as comparable median BMI (HIV+: 26.1 versus HIV−: 26.7, p = 0.16). HIV+ compared to HIV− women, respectively, were significantly (p < 0.01) older (median = 35.6 versus. 32.5), but similar (p = 0.97) by race/ethnicity (57% African American, 28% Hispanic, and 15% white for both). In multivariate models for both HIV+ and HIV− women, African American race/ethnicity was significantly (p < 0.05) associated with higher BMI, while higher quality of life score and illicit hard drug use were associated with lower BMI. Additionally, smoking, alcohol use, markers of advanced HIV infection (AIDS diagnosis, elevated HIV viral load, low CD4 count), and a history of antiretroviral therapy use (ART) were also associated with lower BMI among HIV+ women. In conclusion, risk factors for elevated BMI were similar for HIV+ and HIV− women in the WIHS. For HIV+ women, all markers of advanced HIV infection and ART use were additionally associated with lower BMI.
PMCID: PMC2832643  PMID: 19909168
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(11):1657-1665.
To assess associations between abacavir (ABC) use and systemic inflammation.
Retrospective case-control study.
MACS & WIHS cohort participants who initiated ABC were matched, using propensity score methods, to ABC-unexposed persons. Levels of hsCRP(μg/mL), IL-6(pg/mL), and D-dimer (μg/mL) were measured from pre-HAART and on-HAART plasma. Random-effects models compared markers by ABC exposure and by changes from pre-HAART levels.
Biomarkers were measured in N=508 matched pairs (328 women; 180 men). Pre-HAART levels did not differ by exposure group except that hsCRP levels were higher among WIHS women who subsequently used ABC (p=0.04). Regardless of ABC use, mean hsCRP increases and D-dimer reductions were seen when comparing pre- to on-HAART levels, in the overall group (28% and -27%), for MACS men (28% and -31%) and for WIHS women (29% and -24% (p<0.01 for all); IL-6 levels declined in MACS men (p=0.02). No adjusted biomarker level differences existed by ABC exposure at the on-HAART visit. HIV RNA reductions correlated with D-dimer (r = 0.14, p < 0.01) and IL-6 (r = 0.12, p < 0.01) reductions. Associations between ABC use and mean biomarker levels were modified by pre-HAART ART experience. Renal dysfunction was equally likely among non-ABC and ABC recipients.
ABC use was not associated with plasma elevations in hsCRP, IL-6 and d-dimer. Mechanisms other than increased systemic inflammation may account for ABC’s reported association with increased cardiovascular disease. HAART -associated reductions in D-dimer and IL-6 were apparent regardless of ABC use and were correlated with HIV RNA reductions.
PMCID: PMC3514460  PMID: 20588104
HIV infection; inflammation; HAART; abacavir; cytokines
To study the changes in T cell subsets and IL-7 in HIV-1-infected patients after seven years of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Seventy-five individuals were included in this study (25 with effective HAART, 18 with ineffective HAART, 17 untreated HIV+ patients, and 15 volunteers in the HIV negative control group). The counts of CD4+, CD8+, CD8/CD38+, and CD8/HLADR+ T cells as well as the IL-7 protein expression was measured at 5 time points during a period of seven years in patients starting HAART (baseline) and in the HIV negative control group. The expression of CD127 on CD3+ T cells was measured by flow cytometry at a single time point (after 7 years) in patients with HAART and was compared with untreated HIV+ patients and the HIV negative control group.
At baseline CD4+ T cell counts of HIV-1-infected patients were lower than that in the control group (p < 0.01), whereas the CD8+, CD8/HLADR+ and CD8/CD38+ T cell counts were higher than those in the control group (p <0.01). After seven years of effective HAART, the CD4+ T cell counts had increased and the CD8+ T cell count had decreased, although not to the normal levels (p < 0.05). Both the CD8/HLADR+ and CD8/CD38+ T cell counts had gradually approached those of the control group (p > 0.05). In the ineffective HAART group, the CD8/CD38+ T cell count had not decreased significantly, and CD8/HLADR+ T cell count gradually decreased. Before treatment, IL-7 serum levels of patients were significantly higher than that in the control group (p < 0.01). After seven years of effective HAART, IL-7 levels had gradually decreased, but were still higher than in the control group (p < 0.01). The CD127 expression on CD3+ CD8+ T cells in effective HAART patients was higher than in untreated HIV+ patients (p < 0.05), but was lower than that in the control group (p < 0.05). CD127 expression on CD3+ CD4+ T cells was not significantly different among the control group, untreated HIV+ patients and effective HAART group.
After seven years of effective HAART, the quantity and capacity of T cell subsets and IL-7 in HIV-1-infected patients had been partially restored, and the abnormal immune activation has significantly diminished.
PMCID: PMC3351803  PMID: 22027639
HIV-1; highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); T cell subsets; IL-7
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(2):116-125.
Parametric and semiparametric competing risks methods were used to estimate proportions, timing, and predictors of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related and non-AIDS-related mortality among individuals both positive and negative for the human immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV) in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) and Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) from 1984 to 2008 and 1996 to 2008, respectively. Among HIV-positive MACS participants, the proportion of deaths unrelated to AIDS increased from 6% before the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (before 1996) to 53% in the HAART era (P < 0.01); the median age of persons who died from non-AIDS-related causes after age 35 years increased from 49.0 to 66.0 years (P < 0.01). In both cohorts during the HAART era, median ages at time of non-AIDS-related death were younger for HIV-positive individuals than for comparable HIV-negative individuals (8.7 years younger in MACS (P < 0.01) and 7.6 years younger in WIHS (P < 0.01)). In a multivariate proportional cause-specific hazards model, unemployment (for non-AIDS death, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.8; for AIDS death, HR = 2.3), depression (for non-AIDS death, HR = 1.4; for AIDS death, HR = 1.4), and hepatitis B or C infection (for non-AIDS death, HR = 1.8, for AIDS death; HR = 1.4) were significantly (P < 0.05) associated with higher hazards of both non-AIDS and AIDS mortality among HIV-positive individuals in the HAART era, independent of study cohort. The results illuminate the changing face of mortality among the growing population infected with HIV.
PMCID: PMC3590031  PMID: 23287403
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; antiretroviral therapy, highly active; cohort studies; competing risks; HIV; mixture model; mortality; proportional hazards models
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(5):780-789.
Background.Inflammation persists in treated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and may contribute to an increased risk for non–AIDS-related pathologies. We investigated the correlation of cytokine responses with changes in CD4 T-cell levels and coinfection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) during highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART).
Methods.A total of 383 participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (212 with HIV monoinfection, 56 with HCV monoinfection, and 115 with HIV/HCV coinfection) were studied. HIV-infected women had <1000 HIV RNA copies/mL, 99.7% had >200 CD4 T cells/μL; 98% were receiving HAART at baseline. Changes in CD4 T-cell count between baseline and 2–4 years later were calculated. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained at baseline were used to measure interleukin 1β (IL-1β), interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10), interleukin 12 (IL-12), and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) responses to Toll-like receptor (TLR) 3 and TLR4 stimulation.
Results.Undetectable HIV RNA (<80 copies/mL) at baseline and secretion of IL-10 by PBMCs were positively associated with gains in CD4 T-cell counts at follow-up. Inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-α) were also produced in TLR-stimulated cultures, but only IL-10 was significantly associated with sustained increases in CD4 T-cell levels. This association was significant only in women with HIV monoinfection, indicating that HCV coinfection is an important factor limiting gains in CD4 T-cell counts, possibly by contributing to unbalanced persistent inflammation.
Conclusions.Secreted IL-10 from PBMCs may balance the inflammatory environment of HIV, resulting in CD4 T-cell stability.
PMCID: PMC3491747  PMID: 22693231
It is generally accepted that oxidative stress is involved in HIV infection. However, the role in oxidative balance of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is still debated. In our study we assessed serum oxidant and antioxidant levels in an HIV-1-infected population treated with HAART, and compared them with those of untreated HIV-1 patients and HIV-1-negative subjects. The study included 116 HIV-1-infected patients (86 HAART-treated and 30 untreated), and 46 HIV-negative controls. Serum oxidant levels were significantly higher in the HIV-1 treated group as compared to untreated and control groups. In addition, a decrease of serum total antioxidant status was observed in the HIV-1 treated group. To be noted is that patients who rigorously follow antiretroviral therapy (optimal HAART adherence) have significantly higher oxidative status than those who do not closely follow the therapy (poor HAART adherence). Analysis of variance revealed no significant further increase in oxidative status in HIV-1-infected patients taking antiretroviral and other drugs with the exception of psychiatric drugs (e.g. anxiolytics or antidepressants). Taken together, our results indicate that HAART may affect oxidative stress in HIV-1-infected patients and suggest that antiretroviral therapy plays an important role in the synergy of HIV infection and oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC2768042  PMID: 19884983
The impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on health-related quality of life (QOL) of HIV-1 infected individuals in large prospective cohorts has not been well studied.
To assess the effect of HAART on QOL by comparing HIV-infected women using HAART with HIV-infected women remaining HAART naïve in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a multicenter prospective cohort study begun in 1994 in the US.
A 1:1 matching with equivalent (≤ 0.1%) propensity scores for predicting HAART initiation was implemented and 458 pairs were obtained. HAART effects were assessed using pattern mixture models. The changes of nine QOL domain scores and one summary score derived from a shortened version of the MOS-HIV from initial values were used as study outcomes.
The background covariates of the treatment groups were well-balanced after propensity score matching. The 916 matched subjects had a mean age of 38.5 years and 42% had a history of AIDS diagnosis. The participants contributed a total of 4,292 person visits with a median follow-up time of 4 years. In the bivariate analyses with only HAART use and time as covariates, HAART was associated with short-term improvements of 4 QOL domains: role functioning, social functioning, pain and perceived health index. After adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, biological and clinical variables, HAART had small but significant short-term improvements on changes in summary QOL (mean change: 3.25; P = 0.02), role functioning (6.99; P < 0.01), social functioning (5.74; P < 0.01), cognitive functioning (3.59; P = 0.03), pain (6.73; P < 0.01), health perception (3.67; P = 0.03) and perceived health index (4.87; P < 0.01). These QOL scores typically remained stable or declined over additional follow-up and there was no indication that HAART modified these trends.
Our study demonstrated significant short-term HAART effects on most QOL domains, but additional use of HAART did not modify long-term trends. These changes could be attributed to the direct effect of HAART and indirect HAART effect mediated through clinical changes.
PMCID: PMC1459186  PMID: 16549012
Our goal in this study was to examine how Vitamin C interacts with antiretroviral therapy in individuals with HIV. We specifically evaluated how Vitamin C impacts highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence and HAART effectiveness as adjudicated by HIV viral loads and CD4 cell counts. Women served as their own controls, comparing periods of Vitamin C usage with periods of non-usage.
An intra-individual, cross-sectional comparative study ‘nested’ in the WIHS observational cohort study
Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Outcome Measures
Adherence, CD4 count and Viral load.
Our study population was drawn from 2,813 HIV+ participants who contributed 44,588 visits in WIHS from October, 1994 to April, 2009. Among them, there were 1,122 Vitamin C users with 4,954 total visits where use was reported. In the multivariate model adjusting for age, education, race, income, drug use, Vitamin C use order and depression score, there was a 44% increase in the odds of >=95% HAART adherence among participants during their period of Vitamin C use compared to when they were not using Vitamin C (OR=1.44; 95% CI=1.1–1.9; P-value=0.0179). There was an association with Vitamin C usage and CD4 counts on viral loads.
Vitamin C usage appears to be associated with improved adherence. Future Vitamin C studies should target specific HAART drugs, and prospective clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3351689  PMID: 22579434
American journal of public health  2009;100(8):1493-1499.
We examined racial/ethnic disparities in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use and whether differences are moderated by substance use or insurance status, using data from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Logistic regression examined HAART use in a longitudinal cohort of women for whom HAART was clinically indicated in 2005 (N=1354).
Approximately 3 of every 10 eligible women reported not taking HAART. African American and Hispanic women were less likely than were White women to use HAART. After we adjusted for potential confounders, the higher likelihood of not using HAART persisted for African American but not for Hispanic women. Uninsured and privately insured women, regardless of race/ethnicity, were less likely than were Medicaid enrollees to use HAART. Although alcohol use was related to HAART nonuse, illicit drug use was not.
These findings suggest that expanding and improving insurance coverage should increase access to antiretroviral therapy across racial/ethnic groups, but it is not likely to eliminate the disparity in use of HAART between African American and White women with HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2901300  PMID: 19910347
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;205(11):1745-1756.
Mu opioid receptor (OPRM1) ligands may alter expression of chemokines and chemokine receptors involved in penetration of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 into the cell. We suggest that OPRM1 variants may affect the pathophysiology of HIV infection.
DNA samples from 1031 eligible African Americans, Hispanics, and whites from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) who were alive as of April 2006 were analyzed. We performed regression analysis of association of 18 OPRM1 variants with a change of viral load and CD4 cell count during 2 periods: between admission to WIHS and the start of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) (interval X) and between the start of HAART and the most recent WIHS visit (interval Y), and examined the association of these variants with HIV status.
Regardless of genotype, a significant decrease in viral load during interval X was found for each ethnicity. Whites with allele G of the functional polymorphism 118A > G (reference sequence rs1799971) showed a smaller decrease in viral load; those bearing minor alleles IVS1 + 1050A, IVS1 + 14123A, and IVS2 + 31A showed a larger decrease in viral load over interval X (0.01 < P < .05). Hispanics with the same alleles showed a greater increase in CD4 cell count over interval Y (0.01 < P < .05). We found an association between OPRM1 variants and HIV status in African Americans and whites.
OPRM1 polymorphisms may alter the severity of HIV infection before and after HAART.
PMCID: PMC3415853  PMID: 22457278
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected individuals frequently have consumed garlic, a popular complementary supplement. Researchers rarely have studied garlic’s association with antiretroviral therapies, however, even though that association is very relevant clinically.
To examine associations of supplemental use of garlic with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) adherence level and HAART effectiveness (HIV viral load and CD4+ cell counts) in HIV-infected women.
The research team carried out a self-controlled, longitudinal study nested within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The team used a paired study design that allowed participants to serve as their own controls. The team first identified all of the study’s visits in which the participant self-reported the use of a garlic supplement since her last visit (index visit). Then for each index visit, the team identified a matching visit (a control visit) using the following criteria: (a) the visit must be one for the same participant in which that participant reported no garlic supplementation; (b) the visit must immediately precede the index visit (less than 1 year apart); and (c) at the time of the control visit, the participant must have been using antiretroviral therapy identical to that used at the time of the index visit.
Participants were persons using garlic supplementation who already were participants in the WIHS.
Outcome Measures
The research team used a logistic regression model to examine the association between garlic supplementation and HAART adherence level. The team used a mixed linear model to examine the association of garlic supplementation with HIV viral load and CD4+ cell counts.
From October 1994 to April 2009, 390 HIV-infected women in the WIHS made 1112 visits at which they reported using garlic supplements. Seventy-seven HIV-infected women using HAART met the research team’s selection criteria and contributed 99 pairs of visits for the study. Among the women who used garlic supplements, 22% were 50 years and older; 58% were black and non-Hispanic; and 23% had less than a high-school education. Neither use of garlic supplementation nor reasons for using garlic supplements were significantly associated with the HAART adherence level, HIV viral load, or CD4+ cell counts; however, “use garlic as needed,” a potential marker of a disease state, was significantly associated with higher viral load (P = .0003).
Short-term garlic supplementation did not impact HAART adherence level, HIV viral load, and CD4+ cell counts.
PMCID: PMC3376904  PMID: 22516847
To assess whether complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is associated with the timing of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study.
Study Methods
Prospective cohort study between January 1996 and March 2002. Differences in the cumulative incidence of HAART initiation were compared between CAM users and non–CAM users using a logrank test. Cox regression model was used to assess associations of CAM exposures with time to HAART initiation.
Main Outcome and Exposures
Study outcome was time from January 1996 to initiation of HAART. Primary exposure was use of any CAM modality before January 1996, and secondary exposures included the number and type of CAM modalities used (ingestible CAM medication, body practice, or spiritual healing) during the same period.
One thousand thirty-four HIV-infected women contributed a total of 4987 person-visits during follow-up. At any time point, the cumulative incidence of HAART initiation among CAM users was higher than that among non–CAM users. After adjustment for potential confounders, those reporting CAM use were 1.34 times (95% confidence interval: 1.09, 1.64) more likely to initiate HAART than non–CAM users.
Female CAM users initiated HAART regimens earlier than non–CAM users. Initiation of HAART is an important clinical marker, but more research is needed to elucidate the role specific CAM modalities play in HIV disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2651402  PMID: 18780580
Health economics  2010;19(2):173.
Depression is a common condition among patients with HIV. This paper uses panel data for 1,234 participants from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to estimate the effect of antidepressant use on the likelihood of being employed among women receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the United States from 1996 to 2004. We show that naïve regressions of antidepressant use on employment generally result in negative or non-significant coefficients, whereas the instrumental variables approach shows a positive and significant effect of antidepressant use on the employment probability of women living with HIV. We use instrumental variables to predict antidepressant use independently of outcomes; thus, addressing potential biases (e.g., more depressed women are more likely to receive antidepressant treatment, but they are also more likely to be unemployed). The results are consistent for linear (random and fixed effects) as well as non-linear (bivariate probit) specifications. Among women receiving HAART, and controlling for individual and local area labor market characteristics, the use of antidepressants is associated with a 29-percentage-point higher probability of being employed. Improved efforts to test, diagnose and treat depression among HIV-positive patients may improve not only clinical indicators but also labor market outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2820145  PMID: 19253267
antidepressants; employment; HIV/AIDS; antiretroviral treatment; instrumental variables
Evidence suggesting an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in HIV-infected individuals has heightened the need to understand the relation of HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy use, and non–HIV-related factors with insulin resistance (IR).
Prospective study of 1614 HIV-infected and 604 HIV-uninfected participants from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study between October 2000 and March 2007. Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)–estimated IR at 11,019 semiannual visits.
HIV-infected women reporting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) had higher median HOMA than HIV-uninfected women {1.20 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.11 to 1.30] times higher for those reporting protease inhibitor–containing HAART; 1.10 (95% CI: 1.01 to 1.20) times higher for those reporting non–protease inhibitor–containing HAART}. Among HIV-infected, cumulative exposure to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) of >3 years was associated with HOMA 1.13 (95% CI: 1.02 to 1.25) times higher than the HOMA without any cumulative NRTI exposure. Cumulative exposure to the NRTI stavudine of >1 year was associated with HOMA 1.15 (95% CI: 1.05 to 1.27) times higher than the HOMA without any cumulative stavudine use. Family history of diabetes, hepatitis C virus seropositivity, higher body mass index, or reporting menopause was associated with higher HOMA.
Longer cumulative exposure to NRTI; in particular, stavudine is associated with greater IR in HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC2889144  PMID: 19186350
antiretroviral therapy; HIV; HOMA; insulin resistance; nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor; protease inhibitor

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