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1.  Trends and Disparities in Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and Virologic Suppression Among Newly Treatment-Eligible HIV-Infected Individuals in North America, 2001–2009 
Hanna, David B. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Hessol, Nancy A. | Horberg, Michael A. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Kitahata, Mari M. | Korthuis, P. Todd | Moore, Richard D. | Napravnik, Sonia | Patel, Pragna | Silverberg, Michael J. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Willig, James H. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Crane, Heidi M. | Collier, Ann C. | Samji, Hasina | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Gill, M. John | Klein, Marina B. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Rourke, Sean B. | Gange, Stephen J. | Benson, A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Platt, Aaron | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
In the last decade, timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy and resulting virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain.
Background. Since the mid-1990s, effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens have improved in potency, tolerability, ease of use, and class diversity. We sought to examine trends in treatment initiation and resulting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virologic suppression in North America between 2001 and 2009, and demographic and geographic disparities in these outcomes.
Methods. We analyzed data on HIV-infected individuals newly clinically eligible for ART (ie, first reported CD4+ count <350 cells/µL or AIDS-defining illness, based on treatment guidelines during the study period) from 17 North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design cohorts. Outcomes included timely ART initiation (within 6 months of eligibility) and virologic suppression (≤500 copies/mL, within 1 year). We examined time trends and considered differences by geographic location, age, sex, transmission risk, race/ethnicity, CD4+ count, and viral load, and documented psychosocial barriers to ART initiation, including non–injection drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and mental illness.
Results. Among 10 692 HIV-infected individuals, the cumulative incidence of 6-month ART initiation increased from 51% in 2001 to 72% in 2009 (Ptrend < .001). The cumulative incidence of 1-year virologic suppression increased from 55% to 81%, and among ART initiators, from 84% to 93% (both Ptrend < .001). A greater number of psychosocial barriers were associated with decreased ART initiation, but not virologic suppression once ART was initiated. We found significant heterogeneity by state or province of residence (P < .001).
Conclusions. In the last decade, timely ART initiation and virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better-tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain, both at the individual level and systemwide.
PMCID: PMC3657490  PMID: 23315317
antiretroviral therapy; healthcare disparities; HIV; time factors; viral load
2.  The effect of tuberculosis treatment on virologic and CD4 count response to combination antiretroviral therapy: a systematic review 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(2):245-255.
To determine the impact of tuberculosis (TB) treatment at the time of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation on virologic and CD4 count response to cART.
Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting HIV RNA and CD4 count response, stratified by TB treatment status at cART initiation. Stratified random-effects and meta-regression analyses were used when possible.
25 eligible cohort studies reported data on 49,578 (range 42-15,646) adults, of whom 8,826 (18%) were receiving TB treatment at cART initiation. 17 studies reported virologic response; 21 reported CD4 count response. The summarized random-effects relative risk (RRRE) of virologic suppression in those receiving vs. not receiving TB treatment at different time points following cART initiation was 1.06 (0.86-1.29) at 1-4 months, 0.91 (0.83-1.00) at 6 months, 0.99 (0.94-1.05) at 11-12 months, and 0.99 (0.77-1.28) at 18-48 months. The overall RRRE at 1-48 months was 0.97 (95% CI:0.92-1.03). Available data regarding the effect of TB treatment on virologic failure were heterogeneous and inconclusive (13 estimates). Differences in median CD4 count gain between those receiving vs. not receiving TB treatment ranged from -10 to 60 cells/μL (median 27) by 6 months (7 estimates) and -10 to 29 (median 6) by 11-12 months (5 estimates), though the heterogeneity of the response measures did not support meta-analysis.
Patients receiving TB treatment at cART initiation experience similar virologic suppression and CD4 count reconstitution as those not receiving TB treatment, reinforcing the need to start cART during TB treatment and allowing more confidence in clinical decision-making.
PMCID: PMC4512169  PMID: 24072197
HIV; tuberculosis; antiretroviral therapy; viral load; CD4 lymphocyte count; systematic review; adults
3.  Lymphoma Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome in the Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems Cohort 
In a multicenter cohort, unmasking immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) was observed in 12% of HIV-associated lymphomas. Presentation and survival for lymphoma IRIS were similar to non-IRIS, with possibly increased early mortality among IRIS cases.
Background. Lymphoma incidence is increased among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected individuals soon after antiretroviral therapy (ART), perhaps due to unmasking immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). Clinical characteristics and survival for unmasking lymphoma IRIS have not been described.
Methods. We studied lymphoma patients in the Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS) from 1996 until 2011. Unmasking lymphoma IRIS was defined as lymphoma within 6 months after ART accompanied by a ≥0.5 log10 copies/mL HIV RNA reduction. Differences in presentation and survival were examined between IRIS and non-IRIS cases.
Results. Of 482 lymphoma patients, 56 (12%) met criteria for unmasking lymphoma IRIS. Of these, 12 (21%) had Hodgkin lymphoma, 22 (39%) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 5 (9%) Burkitt lymphoma, 10 (18%) primary central nervous system lymphoma, and 7 (13%) other non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Median CD4 cell count at lymphoma diagnosis among IRIS cases was 173 cells/µL (interquartile range, 73–302), and 48% had suppressed HIV RNA <400 copies/mL. IRIS cases were similar overall to non-IRIS cases in histologic distribution and clinical characteristics, excepting more frequent hepatitis B and C (30% vs 19%, P = .05), and lower HIV RNA at lymphoma diagnosis resulting from the IRIS case definition. Overall survival at 5 years was similar between IRIS (49%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 37%–64%) and non-IRIS (44%; 95% CI, 39%–50%), although increased early mortality was suggested among IRIS cases.
Conclusions. In a large HIV-associated lymphoma cohort, 12% of patients met a uniformly applied unmasking lymphoma IRIS case definition. Detailed studies of lymphoma IRIS might identify immunologic mechanisms of lymphoma control.
PMCID: PMC4102912  PMID: 24755860
HIV/AIDS; lymphoma; Hodgkin lymphoma; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome
4.  Variability of the Date of HIV Diagnosis: A Comparison of Self-Report, Medical Record, and HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data 
Annals of epidemiology  2010;20(10):734-742.
Describe and quantify differences among the year of first positive HIV test from patient report, the medical record, and HIV/AIDS surveillance data.
We merged two clinic-based studies with overlapping HIV-infected participant populations in North Carolina with the HIV/AIDS Reporting System (HARS) and examined the first positive HIV test year from patient report, the medical record, and HARS. Matches were considered the same year of diagnosis.
The self-reported year of diagnosis had high agreement with the medical record (67% matched exactly and 19% differed by one year, weighted kappa=0.85), although there were wide 95% limits of agreement (−4.0 earlier to 3.9 years later). On average, the dates of diagnosis from patient report and the medical record were earlier than HARS with wide 95% limits of agreement (7.5 years earlier to 6.0 years later for patient report vs. HARS, 7.7 years earlier to 6.0 years later for medical record vs. HARS).
These measures could not reliably be used interchangeably as there was wide variability in both directions. Although collection of data from patient report or existing sources is convenient, cost-effective, and efficient, there is significant variability between sources.
PMCID: PMC4489564  PMID: 20620077
HIV infections; reproducibility of results; HIV serodiagnosis; surveillance; comparative study
5.  African American Race and HIV Virological Suppression: Beyond Disparities in Clinic Attendance 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2014;179(12):1484-1492.
Racial disparities in clinic attendance may contribute to racial disparities in plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA levels among HIV-positive patients in care. Data from 946 African American and 535 Caucasian patients receiving HIV care at the University of North Carolina Center for AIDS Research HIV clinic between January 1, 1999, and August 1, 2012, were used to estimate the association between African American race and HIV virological suppression (i.e., undetectable HIV-1 RNA) when racial disparities in clinic attendance were lessened. Clinic attendance was measured as the proportion of scheduled clinic appointments attended (i.e., visit adherence) or the proportion of six 4-month intervals with at least 1 attended scheduled clinic appointment (i.e., visit constancy). In analyses accounting for patient characteristics, the risk ratio for achieving suppression when comparing African Americans with Caucasians was 0.91 (95% confidence interval: 0.85, 0.98). Lessening disparities in adherence or constancy lowered disparities in virological suppression by up to 44.4% and 11.1%, respectively. Interventions that lessen disparities in adherence may be more effective in eliminating disparities in suppression than interventions that lessen disparities in constancy. Given that gaps in care were limited to be no more than 2 years for both attendance measures, the impact of lessening disparities in adherence may be overstated.
PMCID: PMC4051874  PMID: 24812158
clinic visits; cohort studies; health status disparities; human immunodeficiency virus; viral load
6.  Total Daily Pill Burden in HIV-Infected Patients in the Southern United States 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2014;28(6):311-317.
The need for antiretroviral therapy coupled with treatment of chronic co-morbidities places HIV-infected patients at risk for polypharmacy. However, few studies have described overall pill burden among HIV-infected patients. HIV-infected outpatients of the UNC Infectious Diseases Clinic were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Subjects were contacted prior to a scheduled appointment and asked to bring all their medications to the visit. Daily total pill burden and medication type were recorded. 151 subjects were recruited: 76% male, 58% African American, 97% receiving antiretrovirals (ARVs). Median age was 48 (IRQ: 42–54) years. The median number of medications per subject was 8 (IQR: 6–11), and the median individual daily pill burden was 8 pills (IQR: 5–15): 3 pills (range: 2–5) for ARVs and 6 (range: 3–12.5) pills for non-ARVs. Duration of ART (per 2 years increase) and more than 3 co-morbidities was significantly associated with high pill burden (over 10 pills per day) with adjusted OR of 2.09 (95% CI, 1.14–3.84) and 8.04 (95% CI, 2.30–28.15), respectively. As patients with HIV age, strategies to reduce pill burden and number of medications will become increasingly critical to maintaining adherence, preventing medication errors, and serious drug–drug interactions.
PMCID: PMC4180528  PMID: 24901464
7.  Evaluating the incident-user design in the HIV population: incident-use vs. naive? 
The incident-user design is the preferred study design in comparative effectiveness (CER) research. Usually 180–365 days of exposure free time is adequate to remove biases associated with inclusion of prevalent users. In HIV research, the use of antiretrovirals at any time in the past may influence future treatment choices and CER results; thus identifying naïve as opposed to incident users is of importance. We examined misclassification of antiretroviral naïve status based on Medicaid administrative data through linkage to the UNC CFAR HIV Clinical Cohort (UCHCC).
We identified Medicaid patients with incident exposure to common first-line ARV regimens between 2002 and 2008 that were also patients enrolled in the UCHCC. We calculated the proportion of antiretroviral naïve patients based on the UCHCC, among patients identified as having incident exposure in Medicaid and examined factors associated with being antiretroviral naive in both data sources using logistic regression to generate prevalence odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals.
Of the 3,500 Medicaid patients with incident antiretroviral exposure, 1,344 were also enrolled in the UCHCC. In this sample, 34% were antiretroviral naïve at the time of first exposure in the Medicaid data based on the UCHCC. In multivariable models, higher CD4 cell counts and log HIV RNA values were associated with being antiretroviral naïve in both data sources.
Administrative data are an important source of information related to HIV treatment. As the construction of a durable and long-lasting HIV treatment plan involves knowledge of current and past ART, augmentation of this data with comprehensive clinical cohort information is necessary.
PMCID: PMC4426192  PMID: 25257199
8.  Effects of combination antiretroviral therapies on the risk for myocardial infarction among HIV patients 
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)  2014;25(3):406-417.
Cohort studies have demonstrated greater risk of myocardial infarction (MI) associated with specific antiretroviral use, while meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have not. These differences may be due to inherent biases in the observational study design or to the limited duration of randomized trials. We conducted a new-user, active-comparator cohort study emulating a randomized controlled trial comparing initiation of several antiretrovirals as part of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and MI.
We included North Carolina (NC) Medicaid beneficiaries infected with HIV between 2002 and 2008 who were previously untreated with cART. We compared hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of MI between abacavir and tenofovir recipients, and lopinavir-ritonavir or atazanavir recipients and non-nucleoside-reverse-transcriptase-inhibitor (NNRTI) recipients. We adjusted for confounding through inverse-probability-weighting methods.
There were 3,481 NC Medicaid new cART recipients who contributed 6,399 person-years and experienced 38 MI events. Receiving abacavir compared with tenofovir as part of cART was associated with an increased rate of MI unadjusted (HR= 2.70 [95% CI= 1.24 - 5.91]; HR= 2.05 [0.72 - 5.86]). Point estimates also suggest a relationship between receipt of atazanavir or lopinavir-ritonavir compared with an NNRTI and MI, although, estimates were imprecise.
We found an increased rate of MI among patients initiating abacavir compared with tenofovir although the association was decreased after confounding adjustment. Without a very large prospective comparative clinical trial, a much larger observational study of patients initiating cART would be needed to better define this apparent association.
PMCID: PMC4159700  PMID: 24713880
9.  Relationship of immunologic response to antiretroviral therapy with non-AIDS-defining cancer incidence 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(7):979-987.
To estimate the association between immunologic response to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and non-AIDS-defining cancer (NADC) incidence in HIV-infected patients.
Prospective cohort including patients with ≥1 CD4 count and HIV-1 RNA measure after ART initiation between 1996 and 2011 in the Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems, a collaboration of 8 HIV clinics at major academic medical centers in the United States.
Measures of immunologic response were six-month CD4 post-ART, latest CD4, and CD4 count-years, a cumulative measure of CD4 lymphopenia. Cox regression with inverse probability-of-exposure weights was used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HR) of virus-related and virus-unrelated NADC incidence.
Among 9389 patients at ART initiation, median CD4 count was 200 cells/mm3 (IQR=60–332), and median HIV-1 RNA was 4.8 log10copies/ml (IQR=4.3–5.4). Median follow-up was 3.3 years (IQR=1.5–6.5). After six months of ART, median CD4 count was 304 cells/mm3 (IQR=163–469). 164 NADCs were diagnosed during study follow-up; 65 (40%) considered virus-related. Virus-related NADCs were inversely associated with six-month CD4 (HR per 100 cells/mm3 increase=0.71), latest CD4 (HR per 100 cells/mm3 increase=0.70), and CD4 count-years (HR per 200 cell-years/mm3 increase=0.91) independent of CD4 at ART initiation, age, and HIV-1 RNA response. No associations were found with virus-unrelated NADCs.
Poor CD4 response was strongly associated with virus-related NADC incidence, suggesting an important role for T-cell-mediated immunity in pathogenesis. Lower CD4 proximal to cancer diagnosis may be a result of subclinical cancer. Intensified cancer screening should be considered for patients on ART with low CD4 counts.
PMCID: PMC4040952  PMID: 24681415
Antiretroviral therapy; Cancers; HIV infections; Immune reconstitution; CD4; Tumor virus infections
10.  Disparities in the Quality of HIV Care When Using US Department of Health and Human Services Indicators 
Althoff, Keri N. | Rebeiro, Peter | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly | Martin, Jeffrey | Hogg, Robert | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Klein, Marina | Gill, M. John | Sterling, Timothy R. | Yehia, Baligh | Silverberg, Michael J. | Crane, Heidi | Justice, Amy C. | Gange, Stephen J. | Moore, Richard | Kitahata, Mari M. | Horberg, Michael A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Kenneth H. | Hogg, Robert S. | Richard Harrigan, P. | Montaner, Julio SG | Cescon, Angela | Samji, Hasina | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann N. | Rachlis, Anita R. | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M.John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | Althoff, Keri N. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Morton, Liz | McReynolds, Justin | Lober, William B. | Gange, Stephen J. | Althoff, Keri N. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
We estimated US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)–approved human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) indicators. Among patients, 71% were retained in care, 82% were prescribed treatment, and 78% had HIV RNA ≤200 copies/mL; younger adults, women, blacks, and injection drug users had poorer outcomes. Interventions are needed to reduce retention- and treatment-related disparities.
PMCID: PMC3967825  PMID: 24463281
HIV; quality of care; retention in care; antiretroviral therapy; HIV RNA suppression
11.  Testosterone replacement therapy among HIV-infected men in the CFAR Network of Integrated Clinical Systems 
AIDS (London, England)  2015;29(1):77-81.
The objectives of this study were to determine the rate of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) initiation, TRT predictors and associated monitoring in HIV-infected men.
A multisite cohort study.
We examined TRT initiation rates and monitoring among adult HIV-infected men in routine care at seven sites in the Centers for AIDS Research (CFAR) Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS) from 1996 to 2011. We determined TRT predictors using Cox regression modelling.
Of 14 454 men meeting inclusion criteria, TRT was initiated in 1482 (10%) with an initiation rate of 19.7/1000 person-years [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 18.7–20.7]. In the multivariable model, TRT was significantly associated with age at least 35 years, white race, diagnosis of AIDS wasting, hepatitis C coinfection, protease inhibitor based antiretroviral therapy and nadir CD4+ cell count of 200 cells/µl or less. Overall, 1886 out of 14 454 (13%) had testosterone deficiency. Among those initiating TRT, 992 out of 1482 (67%) had a pre-TRT serum total testosterone measured, and deficiency [<300 ng/dl (10.4 nmol/l)] was found in 360 out of 1482 (24%). Post-TRT serum total testosterone was measured within 6 months of TRT initiation in 377 out of 1482 (25%) men.
TRT was common in HIV-infected men, though evidence for pre-TRT testosterone deficiency was lacking in 76%. Endocrine guidelines for post-TRT monitoring were uncommonly followed. Given cardiovascular and other risks associated with TRT, efforts should focus on understanding factors driving these TRT practices in HIV-infected men.
PMCID: PMC4379711  PMID: 25387318
HIV; hormone replacement therapy; hypogonadism; men’s health; patient monitoring; testosterone
12.  The Role of At-Risk Alcohol/Drug Use and Treatment in Appointment Attendance and Virologic Suppression Among HIV+ African Americans 
The causes of poor clinic attendance and incomplete virologic suppression among HIV+ African Americans (AAs) are not well understood. We estimated the effect of at-risk alcohol/drug use and associated treatment on attending scheduled appointments and virologic suppression among 576 HIV+ AA patients in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) 1917 Clinic Cohort who contributed 591 interviews to the analysis. At interview, 78% of patients were new to HIV care at UAB, 38% engaged in at-risk alcohol/drug use or received associated treatment in the prior year, while the median (quartiles) age and CD4 count were 36 (28; 46) years and 321 (142; 530) cells/μl, respectively. In the 2 years after an interview, half of the patients had attended at least 82% of appointments while half had achieved virologic suppression for at least 71% of RNA assessments. Compared to patients who did not use or receive treatment, the adjusted risk ratio (aRR) for attending appointments for patients who did use but did not receive treatment was 0.97 (95% confidence limits: 0.92, 1.03). The corresponding aRR for virologic suppression was 0.94 (0.86, 1.03). Compared to patients who did not receive treatment but did use, the aRR for attending appointments for patients who did receive treatment and did use was 0.86 (0.78, 0.95). The corresponding aRR for virologic suppression was 1.07 (0.92, 1.24). Use was negatively associated with attendance and virologic suppression among patients not in treatment. Among users, treatment was negatively associated with attendance yet positively associated with virologic suppression. However, aRR estimates were imprecise.
PMCID: PMC3938941  PMID: 24325326
13.  Hepatic Safety and Tolerability of Raltegravir among HIV Patients Coinfected with Hepatitis B and/or C 
Antiviral therapy  2014;19(4):415-422.
Potential liver toxicity is an important consideration for antiretroviral selection among patients coinfected with HIV and viral hepatitis (B and/or C). We sought to describe the hepatic safety profile of raltegravir in this population.
Using data from HIV clinical cohorts at Johns Hopkins University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we evaluated factors associated with liver enzyme elevations (LEEs) and calculated adverse event incidence rates for patients initiated on raltegravir-containing regimens prior to January 1, 2010. LEEs were graded according to Division of AIDS definitions.
During the study period, 456 patients received raltegravir – of whom 36% were hepatitis-coinfected (138 HCV, 17 HBV, 11 HBV+HCV). Coinfected patients were more likely to have baseline abnormal LEEs, and developed severe (grade 3–4) LEEs at a rate 3.4 times that of HIV-monoinfected patients (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.28, 9.61). Among all participants, the incidence rate for first occurrence of severe LEEs was 5 per 100 person-years (95% CI, 3, 7). In adjusted analyses, coinfected patients had a 2.7-fold increased hazard of severe LEEs (95% CI, 1.03, 7.04). Sixty percent of severe abnormalities occurred within 6 months after starting raltegravir; the drug was discontinued in 3 coinfected patients (1.3%) and 18 monoinfected patients (6.2%).
Compared to HIV-monoinfected patients, those with HIV-hepatitis coinfection are at increased hazard of developing LEEs on raltegravir, at a level similar to other antiretrovirals. Severe events were uncommon, rarely leading to raltegravir discontinuation. With appropriate monitoring, raltegravir-based therapy is safe in hepatitis-coinfected patients.
PMCID: PMC4108567  PMID: 24458137
integrase strand transfer inhibitors; hepatotoxicity; clinical cohort; United States
15.  Comparative effectiveness of fish oil versus fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and atorvastatin on lowering triglyceride levels among HIV-infected patients in routine clinical care 
The goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of fish oil, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and atorvastatin on reducing triglyceride (TG) levels among a large cohort of HIV-infected patients in clinical care.
Retrospective observational cohort study
The primary endpoint was absolute change in TG levels measured using the last TG value pre-treatment and the first TG value post-treatment. A pre-post quasi-experimental design was used to estimate the change in TG due to initiating fish oil. Linear regression models examined the comparative effectiveness of treatment with fish oil versus gemfibrozil, fenofibrate, or atorvastatin for TG reduction. Models were adjusted for baseline differences in age, sex, race, CD4+ cell count, diabetes, body mass index, protease inhibitor use, and time between TG measures.
A total of 493 patients (mean age 46 years; 95% male) were included (46 receiving gemfibrozil, 80 fenofibrate, 291 atorvastatin, 76 fish oil) with a mean baseline TG of 347 mg/dL. New use of fish oil decreased TG (ΔTG -45 mg/dL 95% Confidence interval (CI):-80 to -11) in the pre-post study. Compared with fish oil (reference), fibrates were more effective (ΔTG -66; 95% CI:-120 to -12) in reducing TG levels, whereas atorvastatin was not (ΔTG -39; 95% CI:-86 to 9).
In HIV-infected patients in routine clinical care, fish oil is less effective than fibrates (but not atorvastatin) at lowering triglyceride values. Fish oil may still represent an attractive alternative for patients with moderately elevated triglycerides particularly among patients who may not want or tolerate fibrates.
PMCID: PMC4112457  PMID: 23892238
fish oil; triglycerides; dyslipidemia; fibrates; HIV
16.  Validation of Medicaid claims-based diagnosis of myocardial infarction using an HIV clinical cohort 
Medical care  2013;10.1097/MLR.0b013e318287d6fd.
In non-experimental comparative effectiveness research using healthcare databases, outcome measurements must be validated to evaluate and potentially adjust for misclassification bias. We aimed to validate claims-based myocardial infarction algorithms in a Medicaid population using an HIV clinical cohort as the gold standard.
Medicaid administrative data were obtained for the years 2002–2008 and linked to the UNC CFAR HIV Clinical Cohort based on social security number, first name and last name and myocardial infarction were adjudicated. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value were calculated.
There were 1,063 individuals included. Over a median observed time of 2.5 years, 17 had a myocardial infarction. Specificity ranged from 0.979–0.993 with the highest specificity obtained using criteria with the ICD-9 code in the primary and secondary position and a length of stay ≥ 3 days. Sensitivity of myocardial infarction ascertainment varied from 0.588–0.824 depending on algorithm. Conclusion: Specificities of varying claims-based myocardial infarction ascertainment criteria are high but small changes impact positive predictive value in a cohort with low incidence. Sensitivities vary based on ascertainment criteria. Type of algorithm used should be prioritized based on study question and maximization of specific validation parameters that will minimize bias while also considering precision.
PMCID: PMC4022708  PMID: 23604043
17.  Hepatitis C Viremia and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected Individuals 
Lucas, Gregory M. | Jing, Yuezhou | Sulkowski, Mark | Abraham, Alison G. | Estrella, Michelle M. | Atta, Mohamed G. | Fine, Derek M. | Klein, Marina B. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Gill, M. John | Moore, Richard D. | Gebo, Kelly A. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Butt, Adeel A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Horberg, Michael A. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Rico, Puerto | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Patel, Pragna | Brooks, John T. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Althoff, Keri N. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1240-1249.
Background. The role of active hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk has not been clarified.
Methods. We compared CKD incidence in a large cohort of HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, HCV viremic (detectable HCV RNA), or HCV aviremic (HCV seropositive, undetectable HCV RNA). Stages 3 and 5 CKD were defined according to standard criteria. Progressive CKD was defined as a sustained 25% glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decrease from baseline to a GFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We used Cox models to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results. A total of 52 602 HCV seronegative, 9508 HCV viremic, and 913 HCV aviremic subjects were included. Compared with HCV seronegative subjects, HCV viremic subjects were at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (adjusted HR 1.36 [95% CI, 1.26, 1.46]), stage 5 CKD (1.95 [1.64, 2.31]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.19, 1.44]), while HCV aviremic subjects were also at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (1.19 [0.98, 1.45]), stage 5 CKD (1.69 [1.07, 2.65]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.02, 1.68]).
Conclusions. Compared with HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, both HCV viremic and HCV aviremic individuals were at increased risk for moderate and advanced CKD.
PMCID: PMC3778973  PMID: 23904290
HIV; hepatitis C virus; chronic kidney disease; hepatitis C RNA; cohort study; glomerular filtration rate; injection drug use
18.  Incidence and Timing of Cancer in HIV-Infected Individuals Following Initiation of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy 
Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma rates were highest immediately after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, particularly among patients with low CD4 cell counts, whereas other cancers increased with time on ART. Calendar year of ART initiation was not associated with subsequent cancer incidence.
Cancer is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but patterns of cancer incidence after combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation remain poorly characterized.
We evaluated the incidence and timing of cancer diagnoses among patients initiating ART between 1996 and 2011 in a collaboration of 8 US clinical HIV cohorts. Poisson regression was used to estimate incidence rates. Cox regression was used to identify demographic and clinical characteristics associated with cancer incidence after ART initiation.
At initiation of first combination ART among 11 485 patients, median year was 2004 (interquartile range [IQR], 2000–2007) and median CD4 count was 202 cells/mm3 (IQR, 61–338). Incidence rates for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and lymphomas were highest in the first 6 months after ART initiation (P < .001) and plateaued thereafter, while incidence rates for all other cancers combined increased from 416 to 615 cases per 100 000 person-years from 1 to 10 years after ART initiation (average 7% increase per year; 95% confidence interval, 2%–13%). Lower CD4 count at ART initiation was associated with greater risk of KS, lymphoma, and human papillomavirus–related cancer. Calendar year of ART initiation was not associated with cancer incidence.
KS and lymphoma rates were highest immediately following ART initiation, particularly among patients with low CD4 cell counts, whereas other cancers increased with time on ART, likely reflecting increased cancer risk with aging. Our results underscore recommendations for earlier HIV diagnosis followed by prompt ART initiation along with ongoing aggressive cancer screening and prevention efforts throughout the course of HIV care.
PMCID: PMC3739467  PMID: 23735330
HIV-associated malignancies; AIDS-defining cancer; non-AIDS-defining cancer; combination antiretroviral therapy
19.  Temporal Trends in Presentation and Survival for HIV-Associated Lymphoma in the Antiretroviral Therapy Era 
Lymphoma is the leading cause of cancer-related death among HIV-infected patients in the antiretroviral therapy (ART) era.
We studied lymphoma patients in the Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems from 1996 until 2010. We examined differences stratified by histology and diagnosis year. Mortality and predictors of death were analyzed using Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards.
Of 23 050 HIV-infected individuals, 476 (2.1%) developed lymphoma (79 [16.6%] Hodgkin lymphoma [HL]; 201 [42.2%] diffuse large B-cell lymphoma [DLBCL]; 56 [11.8%] Burkitt lymphoma [BL]; 54 [11.3%] primary central nervous system lymphoma [PCNSL]; and 86 [18.1%] other non-Hodgkin lymphoma [NHL]). At diagnosis, HL patients had higher CD4 counts and lower HIV RNA than NHL patients. PCNSL patients had the lowest and BL patients had the highest CD4 counts among NHL categories. During the study period, CD4 count at lymphoma diagnosis progressively increased and HIV RNA decreased. Five-year survival was 61.6% for HL, 50.0% for BL, 44.1% for DLBCL, 43.3% for other NHL, and 22.8% for PCNSL. Mortality was associated with age (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 1.28 per decade increase, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.06 to 1.54), lymphoma occurrence on ART (AHR = 2.21, 95% CI = 1.53 to 3.20), CD4 count (AHR = 0.81 per 100 cell/µL increase, 95% CI = 0.72 to 0.90), HIV RNA (AHR = 1.13 per log10copies/mL, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.27), and histology but not earlier diagnosis year.
HIV-associated lymphoma is heterogeneous and changing, with less immunosuppression and greater HIV control at diagnosis. Stable survival and increased mortality for lymphoma occurring on ART call for greater biologic insights to improve outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3748003  PMID: 23892362
20.  HIV risk behaviors and sociodemographic features of HIV-infected Latinos residing in a new Latino settlement area in the Southeastern United States 
AIDS care  2013;25(10):1298-1307.
The Southeastern United States (US) has a rapidly growing Latino population, yet little is known about HIV-infected Latinos in the region. To help inform future prevention studies, we compared sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral characteristics between immigrant and US-born HIV-infected Latinos using face-to-face interviews conducted at three clinics in North Carolina. Questions encompassed HIV testing, acculturation, sexual- and substance-related behaviors, and migration history. Behavioral data were compared with 451 black and white clinic patients. Differences were tested using Pearson’s and Kruskal–Wallis tests. Participants (n = 127) were primarily male (74%) and immigrants (82%). Most immigrants were Mexican (67%), had low acculturation scores (92%), and were diagnosed a median of 8 years (IQR 0–12) following immigration. Compared with US-born Latinos, immigrants had lower CD4 counts at clinic entry (median 187 vs. 371 cells/mm3) and were less likely to have graduated high school (49% vs. 78%) or have insurance (9% vs. 52%; all P < 0.05). Most immigrants identified as heterosexual (60%) and reported fewer lifetime partners than US-born Latinos (median 6 vs. 20; P = 0.001). Immigrant men were less likely to report sex with men than US-born men (43% vs. 81%; P = 0.005). Immigrant men also had similar risk behaviors to black men, and US-born Latino men exhibited behaviors that were more similar to white men in our clinic. At the time of survey, >90% of participants were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and most had achieved HIV RNA <50 copies/mL (62% immigrants vs. 76% US-born; P = 0.32). In conclusion, Latino immigrants were more likely to present with advanced disease, identify as heterosexual, and report different risk behaviors than US-born Latinos, yet receipt and response to ART were similar between the two groups. Prevention strategies should prioritize finding innovative methods to reach Latino immigrants for routine early testing regardless of risk stratification and include programs targeted toward the different needs of immigrant and US-born Latinos.
PMCID: PMC4125118  PMID: 23384328
Hispanic; HIV; CD4 lymphocyte count; Southeast United States; immigrants
21.  Evidence for risk stratification when monitoring for toxicities following initiation of combination antiretroviral therapy 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(10):1593-1602.
Laboratory monitoring is recommended during combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), but the pattern of detected abnormalities and optimal monitoring are unknown. We assessed laboratory abnormalities during initial cART in 2000–2010 across the United States.
Observational study in the Centers for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems Cohort.
Among patients with normal results within a year prior to cART initiation, time to first significant abnormality was assessed by Kaplan–Meier curves stratified by event type, with censoring at first of regimen change, loss to follow-up, or 104 weeks. Incidence rates of first events were estimated using Poisson regression; multivariable analyses identified associated factors. Results were stratified by time (16 weeks) from therapy initiation.
A total of 3470 individuals contributed 3639 person-years. Median age, pre-cART CD4, and follow-up duration were 40 years, 206 cells/μl, and 51 weeks, respectively. Incidence rates for significant abnormalities (per 100 person-years) in the first 16 weeks post-cART initiation were as follows: lipid 49 [95% confidence interval (CI) 41– 58]; hematologic = 44 (40–49); hepatic = 24 (20–27); and renal = 9 (7–11), dropping substantially during weeks 17–104 of cART to lipid = 23 (18–29); hematologic = 5 (4–6); hepatic = 6 (5–8); and renal = 2 (1–3) (all P < 0.05). Among patients receiving initial cART with no prior abnormality (N = 1889), strongest associations for hepatic abnormalities after 16 weeks were hepatitis B and C [hazard ratio 2.3 (95% CI 1.2–4.5) and hazard ratio = 3.0 (1.9–4.5), respectively]. The strongest association for renal abnormalities was hypertension [hazard ratio = 2.8 (1.4–5.6)].
New abnormalities decreased after week 16 of cART. For abnormalities not present by week 16, subsequent monitoring should be guided by comorbidities.
PMCID: PMC4108282  PMID: 23435300
hematologic; hepatic; laboratory; lipid; monitoring HIV; renal
22.  Incidence and Clinical Features of Cerebrovascular Disease Among HIV-Infected Adults in the Southeastern United States 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(7):1068-1074.
With aging of the HIV-infected population, non-AIDS conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) now account for substantial mortality and morbidity. While myocardial infarction is the major outcome of interest in the field of HIV and CVD, cerebrovascular disease remains understudied, especially in the Southeastern United States. We determined the incidence and clinical features of cerebrovascular events (CVE) in a large HIV clinical cohort in North Carolina (NC). A total of 2,515 HIV-infected adults contributed a median of 4.5 years (IQR: 2.0, 7.8) of follow-up. Fifty-three CVEs were adjudicated for an incidence rate of 3.87 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI: 2.90, 5.06). The ischemic stroke incidence was 2.26 per 1,000 person-years (95% CI: 1.53, 3.21), approximately 1.5 times the rate of a population-based cohort in NC. At the time of CVE, the median age was 48 years (IQR: 42, 55). Of ischemic strokes 76% resulted from large artery atherosclerosis or small vessel (lacunar) disease. In multivariable analyses, age, hypertension, dyslipidemia, recent CD4+ cell count ≤200 cells/mm3, and recent HIV RNA >400 copies/ml were associated with an increased risk of CVE. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) was not associated with the risk of CVE. We concluded that in the post-ART era, HIV-infected individuals appear to be at moderately increased risk of stroke. Prevention of CVEs in this population will require modification of traditional CVD risk factors and early, effective treatment of HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3685694  PMID: 23565888
23.  Short Communication: Lack of Occult HIV Infection Among Non-AIDS-Defining Cancer Patients in Three Academic Oncology Clinics in the United States 
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) testing recommendations suggest universal opt-out testing in all health care settings, including cancer clinics. The incidence of non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) is on the rise among HIV patients. However, to date, no data exist on the prevalence of HIV infection among NADC patients in the United States. Knowledge of HIV infection may affect clinical management, prognosis, and overall patient survival and decrease new infections in the population. The purpose of this study was to determine the point seroprevalence of HIV infection in cancer patients being seen in medical oncology clinics. A total of 634 individuals (mean age=53.2 years) participated and were tested for HIV. None of the participants tested positive for HIV in any of the three clinics. Using a futility analysis, the upper end of the 95% confidence interval for prevalence of undiagnosed HIV in cancer patients was less than 0.3%. Most participants were female (59.2%) and non-Hispanic (96.6%). The majority of study participants were white (76.5%) or African-American (17.7%). Breast cancer (19.7%), colon cancer (10.3%), and melanoma (9.7%) were the most commonly reported non-AIDS-defining cancers. While our study suggested that there was no occurrence of undiagnosed HIV among NADC patients, it is important to note that our population was largely white, females with insurance and with a different distribution of cancer than the most prevalent NADC among HIV patients. Furthermore, one-third of the patients did not consent to participate and further studies are needed to assess reasons for their unwillingness along with other populations, specifically minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES).
PMCID: PMC3653389  PMID: 23351216
24.  Hematologic, Hepatic, Renal and Lipid Laboratory Monitoring Following Initiation of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy in the United States, 2000–2010 
We assessed laboratory monitoring following combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation among 3,678 patients in a large US multi-site clinical cohort, censoring participants at last clinic visit, cART change, or three years. Median days (interquartile range) to first hematologic, hepatic, renal and lipid tests were 30 (18–53), 31 (19–56), 33 (20–59) and 350 (96–1106), respectively. At one year, approximately 80% received more than two hematologic, hepatic, and renal tests consistent with guidelines. However, only 40% received one or more lipid tests. Monitoring was more frequent in specific subgroups, likely reflecting better clinic attendance or clinician perception of higher susceptibility to toxicities.
PMCID: PMC3654034  PMID: 23446495
Laboratory Monitoring; Antiretroviral Therapy; Antiretroviral Toxicity
25.  Invasive cervical cancer risk among HIV-infected women: A North American multi-cohort collaboration prospective study 
HIV infection and low CD4+ T-cell count are associated with an increased risk of persistent oncogenic HPV infection – the major risk factor for cervical cancer. Few reported prospective cohort studies have characterized the incidence of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) in HIV-infected women.
Data were obtained from HIV-infected and -uninfected female participants in the NA-ACCORD with no history of ICC at enrollment. Participants were followed from study entry or January, 1996 through ICC, loss-to follow-up or December, 2010. The relationship of HIV infection and CD4+ T-cell count with risk of ICC was assessed using age-adjusted Poisson regression models and standardized incidence ratios (SIR). All cases were confirmed by cancer registry records and/or pathology reports. Cervical cytology screening history was assessed through medical record abstraction.
A total of 13,690 HIV-infected and 12,021 HIV-uninfected women contributed 66,249 and 70,815 person-years (pys) of observation, respectively. Incident ICC was diagnosed in 17 HIV-infected and 4 HIV-uninfected women (incidence rate of 26 and 6 per 100,000 pys, respectively). HIV-infected women with baseline CD4+ T-cells of ≥ 350, 200–349 and <200 cells/uL had a 2.3-times, 3.0-times and 7.7-times increase in ICC incidence, respectively, compared with HIV-uninfected women (Ptrend =0.001). Of the 17 HIV-infected cases, medical records for the 5 years prior to diagnosis showed that 6 had no documented screening, 5 had screening with low grade or normal results, and 6 had high-grade results.
This study found elevated incidence of ICC in HIV-infected compared to -uninfected women, and these rates increased with immunosuppression.
PMCID: PMC3633634  PMID: 23254153
Human papilloma virus; HIV-infection; Invasive Cervical Cancer; Immunosuppression

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