HIV-distal sensory polyneuropathy (HIV-DSPN) is a common complication of HIV infection, yet race as a potential risk factor is not known.
Between April and October 2009, as part of the NIH Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), 1414 women, 973 of whom were HIV-infected, were clinically evaluated for peripheral neuropathy. Utilizing available clinical, laboratory, and sociodemographic variables, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of factors associated with HIV-DSPN. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine factors independently associated with HIV-DSPN.
36% of HIV-infected women met our definition of HIV-DSPN. 41.3% of African Americans, 34.8% of Whites and 24.7% of Hispanics had DSPN. Age, Hepatitis C-co-infection, and diabetes were each significantly associated with HIV-DSPN. After controlling for age, diabetes, Hepatitis C co-infection, alcohol use, current dideoxy-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor use, current CD4 count, and plasma HIV viral load, HIV-DSPN was significantly associated with ethnicity; the odds ratio was 1.67 (p=0.001) in African-Americans compared to other racial groups.
The prevalence of HIV-DSPN in women was lower than reported in prior studies. The likelihood of HIV-DSPN was higher in African-Americans compared to other racial groups. HIV-DSPN was more common in those co-infected with Hepatitis C, older individuals, and diabetics. Further prospective studies are needed to explore the relationship between gender, race, and HIV-DSPN, and the mechanistic basis for racial differences.