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1.  Implementation and Operational Research: CD4 Count Monitoring Frequency and Risk of CD4 Count Dropping Below 200 Cells Per Cubic Millimeter Among Stable HIV-Infected Patients in New York City, 2007–2013 
The evidence has begun to mount for diminishing the frequency of CD4 count testing. To determine whether these observations were applicable to an urban US population, we used New York City (NYC) surveillance data to explore CD4 testing among stable patients in NYC, 2007–2013.
We constructed a population-based retrospective open cohort analysis of NYC HIV surveillance data. HIV+ patients aged ≥13 years with stable viral suppression (≥1 viral load the previous year; all <400 copies per milliliter) and immune status (≥1 CD4 the previous year; all ≥200 cells per cubic millimeter) entered the cohort the following year beginning January 1, 2007. Each subsequent year, eligible patients not previously included entered the cohort on January 1. Outcomes were annual frequency of CD4 monitoring and probability of maintaining CD4 ≥200 cells per cubic millimeter. A multivariable Cox model identified factors associated with maintaining CD4 ≥200 cells per cubic millimeter.
During 1.9 years of observation (median), 62,039 patients entered the cohort. The mean annual number of CD4 measurements among stable patients was 2.8 and varied little by year or characteristic. Two years after entering, 93.4% and 97.8% of those with initial CD4 350–499 and CD4 ≥500 cells per cubic millimeter, respectively, maintained CD4 ≥200 cells per cubic millimeter. Compared to those with initial CD4 ≥500 cells per cubic millimeter, those with CD4 200–349 cells per cubic millimeter and CD4 350–499 cells per cubic millimeter were more likely to have a CD4 <200 cells per cubic millimeter, controlling for sex, race, age, HIV risk group, and diagnosis year.
In a population-based US cohort with well-controlled HIV, the probability of maintaining CD4 ≥200 cells per cubic millimeter for ≥2 years was >90% among those with initial CD4 ≥350 cells per cubic millimeter, suggesting that limited CD4 monitoring in these patients is appropriate.
PMCID: PMC4770377  PMID: 26536317
HIV; monitoring; CD4 count; cohort; New York City
3.  HIV infection during limited versus combined HIV prevention programs for IDUs in New York City: The importance of transmission behaviors 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2010;109(0):154-160.
As no single HIV prevention program has eliminated HIV transmission, there is growing interest in the effectiveness of “combined” prevention programming. To compare HIV infection among persons injecting in the initial programs environment (IPE) in New York City (self-initiated risk reduction, methadone, education/outreach, and HIV testing) to HIV infection among persons injecting in a combined programs environment (CPE) (above programs plus large-scale syringe exchange). To identify potential behavioral mechanisms through which combined programs are effective.
Subjects were recruited from the Beth Israel drug detoxification program. A risk behavior questionnaire was administered and HIV testing conducted. Subjects who injected only between 1984 and 1994 (IPE) were compared to subjects who injected only between 1995 and 2008 (CPE).
261 IPE subjects and 1153 CPE subjects were recruited. HIV infection was significantly lower among the CPE subjects compared to IPE subjects: prevalence 6% versus 21%, estimated incidence 0.3/100 person-years versus 4/100 person-years (both p < 0.001). The percentage of subjects at risk of acquiring HIV through receptive syringe sharing was similar across CPE and IPE subjects (30% versus 33%). The percentage of subjects at risk of transmitting HIV through injection-related behaviors (who were both HIV seropositive and reported passing on used needles/syringes), was much lower among the CPE subjects than among the IPE subjects (1% versus 10%, p < 0.001).
Combined prevention programs can greatly reduce HIV transmission. Reducing distributive sharing by HIV seropositive injecting drug users (IDUs) may be a critical component in reducing HIV transmission in high seroprevalence settings.
PMCID: PMC4447191  PMID: 20163922
Syringe exchange; HIV prevention programs; IDUs; New York City; Prevention for positives
4.  The Effect of Case Rate and Coinfection Rate on the Positive Predictive Value of a Registry Data-Matching Algorithm 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):79-84.
Statistical modeling has suggested that the prevalence of false matches in data matching declines as the events become rarer or the number of matches increases. We examined the effect of case rate and coinfection rate in the population on the positive predictive value (PPV) of a matching algorithm for HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance registry data.
We used LinkPlus™, a probabilistic data-matching program, to match HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed in New York City (NYC) from 1981 to March 31, 2012, and reported to the NYC HIV/AIDS surveillance registry against syphilis and chlamydia cases diagnosed in NYC from January 1 to June 30, 2010, and reported to the NYC STD registry. Match results were manually reviewed to determine true matches.
With an agreement/disagreement comparison score cutoff value of 10.0, LinkPlus identified 3,013 matches, of which 1,582 were determined to be true by manual review. PPV varied greatly in subpopulations with different case rates and coinfection rates. PPV was the highest (91.6%) in male syphilis cases, who had a relatively low case rate but a high HIV coinfection rate, and lowest (18.0%) in female chlamydia cases, who had a high case rate but a low HIV coinfection rate. When the cutoff value was increased to 15.0, PPVs in male syphilis and female chlamydia cases increased to 98.3% and 90.5%, respectively.
Case rates and coinfection rates have a significant effect on the PPV of a registry data-matching algorithm: PPV decreases as the case rate increases and coinfection rate decreases. Before conducting registry data matching, program staff should assess the case rate and coinfection rate of the population included in the data matching and select an appropriate matching algorithm.
PMCID: PMC3862993  PMID: 24385653
5.  Transmitted Antiretroviral Drug Resistance in New York State, 2006-2008: Results from a New Surveillance System 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e40533.
HIV transmitted drug resistance (TDR) is a public health concern because it has the potential to compromise antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the population level. In New York State, high prevalence of TDR in a local cohort and a multiclass resistant case cluster led to the development and implementation of a statewide resistance surveillance system.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 13,109 cases of HIV infection that were newly diagnosed and reported in New York State between 2006 and 2008, including 4,155 with HIV genotypes drawn within 3 months of initial diagnosis and electronically reported to the new resistance surveillance system. We assessed compliance with DHHS recommendations for genotypic resistance testing and estimated TDR among new HIV diagnoses.
Principal Findings
Of 13,109 new HIV diagnoses, 9,785 (75%) had laboratory evidence of utilization of HIV-related medical care, and 4,155 (43%) had a genotype performed within 3 months of initial diagnosis. Of these, 11.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.2%–12.1%) had any evidence of TDR. The proportion with mutations associated with any antiretroviral agent in the NNRTI, NRTI or PI class was 6.3% (5.5%–7.0%), 4.3% (3.6%–4.9%) and 2.9% (2.4%–3.4%), respectively. Multiclass resistance was observed in <1%. TDR did not increase significantly over time (p for trend = 0.204). Men who have sex with men were not more likely to have TDR than persons with heterosexual risk factor (OR 1.0 (0.77–1.30)). TDR to EFV+TDF+FTC and LPV/r+TDF+FTC regimens was 7.1% (6.3%–7.9%) and 1.4% (1.0%–1.8%), respectively.
TDR appears to be evenly distributed and stable among new HIV diagnoses in New York State; multiclass TDR is rare. Less than half of new diagnoses initiating care received a genotype per DHHS guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3412856  PMID: 22879878
6.  Evaluation of HIV Incidence Surveillance in New York City, 2006 
Public Health Reports  2011;126(1):28-38.
In 2005, the New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene implemented a standardized human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence surveillance protocol based on the serologic testing algorithm for recent HIV seroconversion deployed nationwide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We evaluated four key attributes of NYC's HIV incidence surveillance system—simplicity, data quality, timeliness, and acceptability—using CDC's guidelines for surveillance system evaluation. The evaluation revealed that the system could potentially provide HIV incidence estimates stratified by borough and major demographic groups at about nine months after the period of interest. The system strengths include its relative simplicity and integration with routine HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome surveillance. Weaknesses include lack of completeness of testing history information, a critical component of incidence estimation. Continued improvements in data completeness and timeliness will improve the currently available information to inform personnel who develop HIV-prevention programs and policy initiatives in NYC and nationally.
PMCID: PMC3001820  PMID: 21337929
7.  Use of HIV Case Surveillance System to Design and Evaluate Site-Randomized Interventions in an HIV Prevention Study: HPTN 065 
The Open AIDS Journal  2012;6:122-130.
Modeling studies suggest intensified HIV testing, linkage-to-care and antiretroviral treatment to achieve viral suppression may reduce HIV transmission and lead to control of the epidemic. To study implementation of strategy, population-level data are needed to monitor outcomes of these interventions. US HIV surveillance systems are a potential source of these data.
HPTN065 (TLC-Plus) Study is evaluating the feasibility of a test, linkage-to-care, and treat strategy for HIV prevention in two intervention communities - the Bronx, NY, and Washington, DC. Routinely collected laboratory data on diagnosed HIV cases in the national HIV surveillance system were used to select and randomize sites, and will be used to assess trial outcomes.
To inform study randomization, baseline data on site-aggregated study outcomes was provided from HIV surveillance data by New York City and Washington D.C. Departments of Health. The median site rate of linkage-to-care for newly diagnosed cases was 69% (IQR 50%-86%) in the Bronx and 54% (IQR 33%-71%) in Washington, D.C. In participating HIV care sites, the median site percent of patients with viral suppression (<400 copies/mL) was 57% (IQR 53%-61%) in the Bronx and 64% (IQR 55%-72%) in Washington, D.C.
In a novel use of site-aggregated surveillance data, baseline data was used to design and evaluate site randomized studies for both HIV test and HIV care sites. Surveillance data have the potential to inform and monitor sitelevel health outcomes in HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3462339  PMID: 23049660
HIV; linkage-to-care; site randomized; surveillance; test and treat; viral load suppression.
8.  Comparing the National Death Index and the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to Ascertain Death in HIV Surveillance 
Public Health Reports  2009;124(6):850-860.
New York City (NYC) maintains a population-based registry of people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to monitor the epidemic and inform resource allocation. We evaluated record linkages with the National Death Index (NDI) and the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (SSDMF) to find deaths occurring from 2000 through 2004.
We linked records from 32,837 people reported with HIV and not previously known to be dead with deaths reported in the NDI and the SSDMF. We calculated the kappa statistic to assess agreement between data sources. We performed subgroup analyses to assess differences within demographic and transmission risk subpopulations. We quantified the benefit of linkages with each data source beyond prior death ascertainment from local vital statistics data.
We discovered 1,926 (5.87%) deaths, which reduced the HIV prevalence estimate in NYC by 2.03%, from 1.19% to 1.16%. Of these, 458 (23.78%) were identified only from NDI, and 305 (15.84%) only from SSDMF. Agreement in ascertainment between sources was substantial (kappa = [K] 0.74, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72, 0.76); agreement was lower among Hispanic people (K=0.65, 95% CI 0.62, 0.69) and people born outside the U.S. (K=0.60, 95% CI 0.52, 0.68). We identified an additional 13.62% of deaths to people reported with HIV in NYC; white people and men who have sex with men were disproportionately likely to be underascertained without these linkages (p<0.0001).
Record linkages with national databases are essential for accurate prevalence estimates from disease registries, and the SSDMF is an inexpensive means to supplement linkages with the NDI to maximize death ascertainment.
PMCID: PMC2773949  PMID: 19894428
9.  HIV Prevention Services Received at Health Care and HIV Test Providers by Young Men who Have Sex with Men: An Examination of Racial Disparities 
We investigated whether there were racial/ethnic differences among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in their use of, perceived importance of, receipt of, and satisfaction with HIV prevention services received at health care providers (HCP) and HIV test providers (HTP) that explain racial disparities in HIV prevalence. Young men, aged 23 to 29 years, were interviewed and tested for HIV at randomly sampled MSM-identified venues in six U.S. cities from 1998 through 2000. Analyses were restricted to five U.S. cities that enrolled 50 or more black or Hispanic MSM. Among the 2,424 MSM enrolled, 1,522 (63%) reported using a HCP, and 1,268 (52%) reported having had an HIV test in the year prior to our interview. No racial/ethnic differences were found in using a HCP or testing for HIV. Compared with white MSM, black and Hispanic MSM were more likely to believe that HIV prevention services are important [respectively, AOR, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.0, 1.97 to 4.51 and AOR, 95% CI: 2.7, 1.89 to 3.79], and were more likely to receive prevention services at their HCP (AOR, 95% CI: 2.5, 1.72 to 3.71 and AOR, 95% CI: 1.7, 1.18 to 2.41) and as likely to receive counseling services at their HTP. Blacks were more likely to be satisfied with the prevention services received at their HCP (AOR, 95% CI: 1.7, 1.14 to 2.65). Compared to white MSM, black and Hispanic MSM had equal or greater use of, perceived importance of, receipt of, and satisfaction with HIV prevention services. Differential experience with HIV prevention services does not explain the higher HIV prevalence among black and Hispanic MSM.
PMCID: PMC2527440  PMID: 18622708
HIV prevention services; Racial/ethnic disparities; Young MSM
10.  Race/ethnic differences in HIV prevalence and risks among adolescent and young adult men who have sex with men 
The prevalence of HIV infection is disproportionately higher in both racial/ethnic minority men who have sex with men (MSM) and in men under the age of 25, where the leading exposure category is homosexual contact. Less is known, however, about patterns of HIV prevalence in young racial/ethnic minority MSM. We analyzed data from the Young men’s Survey (YMS), an anonymous, corss-sectional survey of 351 MSM in Baltimore and 529 MSM in New York City, aged 15–22, to determine whether race/ethnicity differences exist in the prevalence of HIV infection and associated risk factors. Potential participants were selected systematically at MSM-identified public venues. Venues and associated time periods for subject selection were selected randomly on a monthly basis. Eligible and willing subjects provided informed consent and underwent an interview, HIV pretest counseling, and a blood draw for HIV antibody testing. In multivariate analysis, adjusted for city of recruitment, and age, HIV seroprevalence was highest for African Americans [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=12.5], intermediate for those of “other/mixed” race/ethnicity (AOR=8.6), and moderately elevated for Hispanics (AOR=4.6) as compared to whites. Stratified analysis showed different risk factors for HIV prevalence in each ethnic group: for African Americans, these were history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and not being in school; for Hispanics, risk factors were being aged 20–22, greater number of male partners and use of recreational drugs; and for those of “other/mixed” race/ethnicity, risk factors included injection drug use and (marginally) STDs. These findings suggest the need for HIV prevention and testing programs which target young racial/ethnic, minority MSM and highlight identified risk factors and behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3456687  PMID: 16221919
Adolescents; Drug use; HIV prevalence; Men who have sex with men; Race ethnicity; Sexual behavior
11.  Attitudes about combination HIV therapies: The next generation of gay men at risk 
This study examined awareness of and attitudes about highly active antiret-roviral therapies (HAARTs) among adolescent and young men who have sex with men (MSM). As part of the multisite Young Men’s Survey, 813 MSM aged 15–22 years who attended public venues in two cities were questioned about HAART in 1997–1998. Overall, 45.1% had heard of HAART, 61.6% in Seattle, Washington, and 35.0% in New York City. MSM in New York City who were the youngest, men of color, men who were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody negative, and men who resided in New Jersey were significantly less likely to be aware of HAART. Attitudes about HAART were not associated with sexual risk behaviors. Prevention efforts among young MSM should focus on other determinants of risk, but also include information on the changing nature of HIV therapies.
PMCID: PMC3455978  PMID: 12930887
Gay men; HIV treatment; Sexual behaviors

Results 1-11 (11)