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1.  An Investigation of the Possible Interaction between the Use of Vitamin C and Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) Adherence and Effectiveness in Treated HIV+ Women 
Objectives
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.
Design
An intra-individual, cross-sectional comparative study ‘nested’ in the WIHS observational cohort study
Subjects
Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Outcome Measures
Adherence, CD4 count and Viral load.
Results
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.
Conclusion
Vitamin C usage appears to be associated with improved adherence. Future Vitamin C studies should target specific HAART drugs, and prospective clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2012.03.001
PMCID: PMC3351689  PMID: 22579434
2.  Relationship of ethnicity, age, education, and reading level to speed and executive function among HIV+ and HIV- women: The WIHS Neurocognitive Substudy 
Use of neuropsychological tests to identify HIV-associated neurocognitive dysfunction must involve normative standards that are well-suited to the population of interest. Norms should be based on a population of HIV-uninfected individuals as closely matched to the HIV-infected group as possible, and must include examination of the potential effects of demographic factors on test performance. This is the first study to determine the normal range of scores on measures of psychomotor speed and executive function among a large group of ethnically and educationally diverse HIV-uninfected, high risk women, as well as their HIV-infected counterparts. Participants (n = 1653) were administered the Trailmaking Test Parts A and B (Trails A and Trails B), the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), and the Wide Range Achievement Test-3 (WRAT-3). Among HIV-uninfected women, race/ethnicity accounted for almost 5% of the variance in cognitive test performance. The proportion of variance in cognitive test performance accounted for by age (13.8%), years of school (4.1%) and WRAT-3 score (11.5%) were each significant, but did not completely account for the effect of race (3%). HIV-infected women obtained lower scores than HIV-uninfected women on time to complete Trails A and B, SDMT total correct, and SDMT incidental recall score, but after adjustment for age, years of education, racial/ethnic classification, and reading level, only the difference on SDMT total correct remained significant. Results highlight the need to adjust for demographic variables when diagnosing cognitive impairment in HIV-infected women. Advantages of demographically adjusted regression equations developed using data from HIV-uninfected women are discussed.
doi:10.1080/13803395.2010.547662
PMCID: PMC3383771  PMID: 21950512
3.  Short-term Garlic Supplementation and Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence, CD4+ Cell Counts, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Viral Load 
Context
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.
Objective
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.
Design
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
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
Short-term garlic supplementation did not impact HAART adherence level, HIV viral load, and CD4+ cell counts.
PMCID: PMC3376904  PMID: 22516847
4.  Relationship Between Complementary/Alternative Treatment Use and Illicit Drug Use Among a Cohort of Women with, or at Risk for, HIV Infection 
Abstract
Objectives
Two of the most pressing public health challenges in the United States are treating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and illegal substance use. High rates of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use have been reported by individuals who suffer from both of these diseases. The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between CAM use and illegal substance use in a cohort of women with HIV or at risk for HIV disease. Based on previous research, it was hypothesized that CAM use may decrease substance use.
Design
This was a longitudinal cohort study.
Subjects
The subjects comprised Women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Outcome measures
The role of CAM use in illegal substance use was examined. Due to the hierarchical structure of the dataset, logistic regression analysis adjusting for repeated measurements (generalized estimating equation model) was carried out to assess associations of CAM use and illicit drug use.
Results
There were 2176 women included in the analysis. After excluding for marijuana use, CAM use was associated with less drug use (odds ratio 0.82; 95% confidence interval: 0.73, 0.90).
Conclusions
The results supported our hypothesis that CAM users are more health conscious and thus less likely to use illicit drugs. Future studies should target both specific drugs and CAM modalities to help finalize this association.
doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0584
PMCID: PMC3110837  PMID: 20738164
5.  HIV Infection and Women’s Sexual Functioning 
Objective
To compare sexual problems among HIV-positive and HIV-negative women, and describe clinical and psychosocial factors associated with these problems.
Design
Data were collected during a study visit of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The WIHS studies the natural and treated history of HIV among women in the United States.
Methods
Between 10/01/2006 and 3/30/2007, 1,805 women (1,279 HIV-positive and 526 HIV-negative) completed a study visit that included administration of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). In addition, the visit included completion of standardized, interviewer-administered surveys, physical and gynecological examinations, and blood sample collection.
Results
Women with HIV reported greater sexual problems than did those without HIV. Women also reported lower sexual function if they were classified as menopausal, had symptoms indicative of depression, or if they reported not being in a relationship. CD4+ cell count was associated with FSFI scores, such that those with CD4 ≤199 cells/µL reported lower functioning as compared to those whose cell count was 200 or higher.
Conclusions
Given research documenting relationships between self-reported sexual problems and both clinical diagnoses of sexual dysfunction and women’s quality of life, greater attention to this issue as a potential component of women’s overall HIV care is warranted.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181d01b14
PMCID: PMC2900377  PMID: 20179602
HIV; Women; Sexual Behavior; Sexual Problems
6.  Factors Associated with Preclinical Disability and Frailty among HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women in the Era of cART 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(12):1965-1974.
Abstract
Background
HIV-associated immune injury is hypothesized to increase the risk of preclinical disability and frailty via inflammatory pathways. We investigated the role of CD4+ T cell depletion and clinical AIDS on preclinical disability and frailty in HIV-positive women with a history of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and HIV-negative women.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional study nested within the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a prospective cohort study initiated in 1994 across five U.S. cities. Questionnaires and tests were performed by 573 HIV-negative and 1206 HIV-positive women. Prevalence ratios were computed using regression models.
Results
Severe CD4+ cell depletion was an independent predictor of slowness, weakness, and frailty in HIV-positive women compared with HIV-negative women. Women with CD4+ counts <100 cells/mm3 were 0.13 seconds slower to complete 4 meters (95% CI 0.06-0.21), 1.25 kg weaker (95% CI −2.31-−0.19), and had 2.7 times higher prevalence of frailty (95% CI 1.46-5.01).
Conclusions
This study is one of the largest studies to administer performance-based tests to investigate disability and frailty in HIV-positive women. HIV-positive women with intact immune systems and without a history of clinical AIDS were no different from HIV-negative women on tests of slowness, weakness, and frailty phenotype.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1090
PMCID: PMC2828186  PMID: 20044858
7.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
Abstract
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723
8.  Retention and Attendance of Women Enrolled in a Large Prospective Study of HIV-1 in the United States 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(10):1627-1637.
Abstract
Objective
The objective was to assess study retention and attendance for two recruitment waves of participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Methods
The WIHS, a prospective study at six clinical centers in the United States, has experienced two phases of participant recruitment. In phase one, women were screened and enrolled at the same time, and in phase two, women were screened and enrolled at separate visits. Compliance with study follow-up was evaluated by examining semiannual study retention and visit attendance.
Results
After 10 study visits, the retention rate in the original recruits (enrolled in 1994–1995) was 83% for the HIV-infected women and 69% for the HIV-uninfected women compared with 86% and 86%, respectively, in the new recruits (enrolled in 2001–2002). In logistic regression analysis of the HIV-infected women, factors associated with early (visits 2 and 3) nonattendance were temporary housing, moderate alcohol consumption, use of crack/cocaine/heroin, having a primary care provider, WIHS site of enrollment, lower CD4 cell count, and higher viral load. Among HIV-uninfected women, the factors associated with early nonattendance were recruitment into the original cohort, household income ≥$12,000 per year, temporary housing, unemployment, use of crack/cocaine/heroin, and WIHS site of enrollment. Factors associated with nonattendance at later visits (7–10) among HIV-infected participants were younger age, white race, not having a primary care provider, not having health insurance, WIHS site of enrollment, higher viral load, and nonattendance at a previous visit. In HIV-uninfected participants, younger age, white race, WIHS site of enrollment, and nonattendance at a previous visit were significantly associated with nonattendance at later visits.
Conclusions
Preventing early loss to follow-up resulted in better study retention early, but late loss to follow-up may require different retention strategies.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2008.1337
PMCID: PMC2825719  PMID: 19788344
9.  Association of Child Care Burden and Household Composition with Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(4):289-296.
Abstract
Our objective was to describe the association that childcare burden, household composition, and health care utilization have with adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in the United States. The primary outcome was 95% or more adherence to HAART evaluated at 10,916 semiannual visits between October 1998 and March 2006 among 1419 HIV-infected participants enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. HAART adherence levels of 95% or more were reported at 76% of the semiannual visits. At only 4% of the person-visits did women report either quite a bit or extreme difficulty in caring for child; at 52% of the person-visits women reported at least one child 18 years of age or older living in the household. We found a one-unit increase in the difficulty in caring for children (childcare burden was assessed on a 5-point scale: not difficult [1] to extremely difficult [5]) was associated with a 6% decreased odds of 95% or more HAART adherence (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.94; p = 0.07). Each additional child 18 years of age or less living in the household was associated with an 8% decreased odds of 95% or more adherence (adjusted OR = 0.92, p = 0.03). Both the number and type of adult living in the household, as well as health care utilization were not associated with HAART adherence. Greater child care burden and number of children 18 years old or younger living in household were both inversely associated with HAART adherence. Assessing patients' difficulties in caring for children and household composition are important factors to consider when addressing adherence to HAART.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0161
PMCID: PMC2674283  PMID: 19243274
10.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723
11.  Association of Child Care Burden and Household Composition with Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(4):289-296.
Our objective was to describe the association that childcare burden, household composition, and health care utilization have with adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in the United States. The primary outcome was 95% or more adherence to HAART evaluated at 10,916 semiannual visits between October 1998 and March 2006 among 1419 HIV-infected participants enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. HAART adherence levels of 95% or more were reported at 76% of the semiannual visits. At only 4% of the person-visits did women report either quite a bit or extreme difficulty in caring for child; at 52% of the person-visits women reported at least one child 18 years of age or older living in the household. We found a one-unit increase in the difficulty in caring for children (childcare burden was assessed on a 5-point scale: not difficult [1] to extremely difficult [5]) was associated with a 6% decreased odds of 95% or more HAART adherence (adjusted odds ratio [OR]=0.94; p=0.07). Each additional child 18 years of age or less living in the household was associated with an 8% decreased odds of 95% or more adherence (adjusted OR=0.92, p=0.03). Both the number and type of adult living in the household, as well as health care utilization were not associated with HAART adherence. Greater child care burden and number of children 18 years old or younger living in household were both inversely associated with HAART adherence. Assessing patients’ difficulties in caring for children and household composition are important factors to consider when addressing adherence to HAART.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0161
PMCID: PMC2674283  PMID: 19243274
12.  Association Between Living With Children and Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Pediatrics  2008;121(4):e787-e793.
OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this work was to evaluate whether living with children adversely affects adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected women.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS
We conducted a prospective cohort study between October 1998 and September 2005. The study outcome was ≥95% adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy evaluated at 5832 semiannual visits among 1366 HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. The primary exposure defined at the visit immediately before outcome ascertainment was the number of children ≤18 years of age reported living in the household.
RESULTS
The percentage of women who reported ≥2 children in the household who also reported ≥95% adherence ranged from 68% to 75% compared with adherence when either 1 child or no children were reported. Each additional child reported living in the household was associated with a 6% decrease in the odds of ≥95% adherence.
CONCLUSION
The impact of living with a child on the ability to take medications by HIV-infected women has not been examined thoroughly. Our data suggest that adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy is inversely associated with the number of children living in the household.
doi:10.1542/peds.2007-1586
PMCID: PMC2651400  PMID: 18381507
adherence; children; HAART; HIV
13.  Live birth patterns among HIV-infected women before and after the availability of HAART 
Objective
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
The availability of effective therapeutic interventions has profoundly impacted childbearing among HIV-infected women.
doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2007.01.005
PMCID: PMC1949426  PMID: 17547887
HIV; women; reproductive decision-making; birth rate; highly active antiretroviral therapy
Background
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.
Objective
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-3-6
PMCID: PMC1459186  PMID: 16549012
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2001;107(4):431-438.
To initiate infection, HIV-1 requires a primary receptor, CD4, and a secondary receptor, principally the chemokine receptor CCR5 or CXCR4. Coreceptor usage plays a critical role in HIV-1 disease progression. HIV-1 transmitted in vivo generally uses CCR5 (R5), but later CXCR4 (X4) strains may emerge; this shift heralds CD4+ cell depletion and clinical deterioration. We asked whether antiretroviral therapy can shift HIV-1 populations back to R5 viruses after X4 strains have emerged, in part because treatment has been successful in slowing disease progression without uniformly suppressing plasma viremia. We analyzed the coreceptor usage of serial primary isolates from 15 women with advanced disease who demonstrated X4 viruses. Coreceptor usage was determined by using a HOS-CD4+ cell system, biological and molecular cloning, and sequencing the envelope gene V3 region. By constructing a mathematical model to measure the proportion of virus in a specimen using each coreceptor, we demonstrated that the predominant viral population shifted from X4 at baseline to R5 strains after treatment. Multivariate analyses showed that the shift was independent of changes in plasma HIV-1 RNA level and CD4+ cell count. Hence, combination therapy may lead to a change in phenotypic character as well as in the quantity of HIV-1. Shifts in coreceptor usage may thereby contribute to the clinical efficacy of anti-HIV drugs.
PMCID: PMC199259  PMID: 11181642

Results 1-16 (16)