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1.  Consultations Between Patients With Breast Cancer and Surgeons: A Pathway From Patient-Centered Communication to Reduced Hopelessness  
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;31(3):351-358.
Patient-centered communication (PCC) affects psychosocial health outcomes of patients. However, these effects are rarely direct, and our understanding of such effects are largely based on self-report (v observational) data. More information is needed on the pathways by which concrete PCC behaviors affect specific psychosocial outcomes in cancer care. We hypothesized that PCC behaviors increase the satisfaction of patients with surgeons, which, in turn, reduces the postconsultation hopelessness of patients.
Patients and Methods
In Portland, OR, we videotaped consultations between 147 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer and nine surgeons and administered surveys to participants immediately preconsultation and postconsultation. Consultations were coded for PCC behaviors. Multivariate regression models analyzed the association between PCC and the satisfaction of patients and between satisfaction and hopelessness.
Levels of hopelessness of patients significantly decreased from preconsultation to postconsultation (P < .001). Two PCC behaviors (ie, patient asserting treatment preference [odds ratio {OR}, 1.50/log unit; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.23/log unit; P = .042] and surgeon providing good/hopeful news [OR, 1.62/log unit; 95% CI, 1.01 to 2.60/log unit; P = .047]) were independently significantly associated with the satisfaction of patients with surgeons, which, in turn, independently predicted reduced levels of postconsultation hopelessness (linear change, −0.78; 95% CI, 1.44 to −0.12; P = .02).
Although additional research is needed with larger and more-diverse data sets, these findings suggest the possibility that concrete and trainable PCC behaviors can lower the hopelessness of patients with breast cancer indirectly through their effects on patient satisfaction with care.
PMCID: PMC3732013  PMID: 23233706
2.  Liberal versus restrictive blood transfusion strategy: 3-year survival and cause of death results from the FOCUS randomised controlled trial 
Lancet (London, England)  2014;385(9974):1183-1189.
Blood transfusion might affect long-term mortality by changing immune function and thus potentially increasing the risk of subsequent infections and cancer recurrence. Compared with a restrictive transfusion strategy, a more liberal strategy could reduce cardiac complications by lowering myocardial damage, thereby reducing future deaths from cardiovascular disease. We aimed to establish the effect of a liberal transfusion strategy on long-term survival compared with a restrictive transfusion strategy.
In the randomised controlled FOCUS trial, adult patients aged 50 years and older, with a history of or risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and with postoperative haemoglobin concentrations lower than 100 g/L within 3 days of surgery to repair a hip fracture, were eligible for enrolment. Patients were recruited from 47 participating hospitals in the USA and Canada, and eligible participants were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio by a central telephone system to either liberal transfusion in which they received blood transfusion to maintain haemoglobin level at 100 g/L or higher, or restrictive transfusion in which they received blood transfusion when haemoglobin level was lower than 80 g/L or if they had symptoms of anaemia. In this study, we analysed the long-term mortality of patients assigned to the two transfusion strategies, which was a secondary outcome of the FOCUS trial. Long-term mortality was established by linking the study participants to national death registries in the USA and Canada. Treatment assignment was not masked, but investigators who ascertained mortality and cause of death were masked to group assignment. Analyses were by intention to treat. The FOCUS trial is registered with, number NCT00071032.
Between July 19, 2004, and Feb 28, 2009, 2016 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to the two treatment groups: 1007 to the liberal transfusion strategy and 1009 to the restrictive transfusion strategy. The median duration of follow-up was 3·1 years (IQR 2·4–4·1 years), during which 841 (42%) patients died. Long-term mortality did not differ significantly between the liberal transfusion strategy (432 deaths) and the restrictive transfusion strategy (409 deaths) (hazard ratio 1·09 [95% CI 0·95–1·25]; p=0·21).
Liberal blood transfusion did not affect mortality compared with a restrictive transfusion strategy in a high-risk group of elderly patients with underlying cardiovascular disease or risk factors. The underlying causes of death did not differ between the trial groups. These findings do not support hypotheses that blood transfusion leads to long-term immunosuppression that is severe enough to affect long-term mortality rate by more than 20–25% or cause of death.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
PMCID: PMC4498804  PMID: 25499165
3.  Longitudinal Anthropometric Patterns Among HIV-infected and –uninfected Women 
Previous studies suggest that indicators of central adiposity such as waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist circumference may be altered by HIV infection, antiretroviral (ARV) treatment or both.
Waist and hip circumference and body mass index (BMI) were measured among participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) semiannually from 1999 to 2004. Generalized linear models evaluated longitudinal patterns of these measures and associations with demographic and clinical characteristics.
WHR was significantly larger while BMI, waist and hip circumference were significantly smaller at almost all eleven semiannual visits among 942 HIV-infected compared to 266 HIV-uninfected women. Among HIV-uninfected women, mean waist and hip circumference and BMI increased over the 5 year study period (waist: +4.1 cm or 4.4%, hip: +3.76 cm or 3.5% and BMI +2.43 kg/m2 or 8.2%), while WHR remained stable. Among the HIV-infected women, waist and hip circumference, BMI and WHR did not significantly change.
Independent predictors of smaller BMI among HIV-infected women included White race, HCV seropositivity, current smoking, higher viral load and lower CD4. Independent predictors of larger WHR among HIV-infected women included age, White and Other non-African-American race, higher CD4 and PI use. Use of a HAART regimen was not an independent predictor of either BMI or WHR..
HIV-infected women had higher WHR compared to HIV-uninfected women, despite lower BMI, waist and hip measurements. BMI, waist and hip circumference increased over 5 years among the HIV-uninfected women, but remained stable in the HIV-infected women. Among HIV-infected women, PI use was associated with larger WHR, although HAART use itself was not appreciably associated with either BMI or WHR.
PMCID: PMC4406344  PMID: 18197125
anthropometrics; HIV; women; waist-to-hip ratio
4.  Insulin Resistance Change and Antiretroviral Therapy Exposure in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women: A Longitudinal Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123936.
We longitudinally assessed predictors of insulin resistance (IR) change among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected (ART-initiators and ART-non-initiators) Rwandan women.
HIV-infected (HIV+) and uninfected (HIV-) women provided demographic and clinical measures: age, body mass index (BMI) in Kg/(height in meters)2, Fat-Mass (FMI) and Fat-Free-Mass (FFMI) index, fasting serum glucose and insulin. Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) was calculated to estimate IR change over time in log10 transformed HOMA measured at study enrollment or prior to ART initiation in 3 groups: HIV- (n = 194), HIV+ ART-non-initiators (n=95) and HIV+ ART-initiators (n=371). ANCOVA linear regression models of change in log10-HOMA were fit with all models included the first log10 HOMA as a predictor.
Mean±SD log10-HOMA was -0.18±0.39 at the 1st and -0.21±0.41 at the 2nd measure, with mean change of 0.03±0.44. In the final model (all women) BMI at 1st HOMA measure (0.014; 95% CI=0.006-0.021 per kg/m2; p<0.001) and change in BMI from 1st to 2nd measure (0.024; 95% CI=0.013-0.035 per kg/m2; p<0.001) predicted HOMA change. When restricted to subjects with FMI measures, FMI at 1st HOMA measure (0.020; 95% CI=0.010-0.030 per kg/m2; p<0.001) and change in FMI from 1st to 2nd measure (0.032; 95% CI=0.020-0.043 per kg/m2; p<0.0001) predicted change in HOMA. While ART use did not predict change in log10-HOMA, untreated HIV+ women had a significant decline in IR over time. Use or duration of AZT, d4T and EFV was not associated with HOMA change in HIV+ women.
Baseline BMI and change in BMI, and in particular fat mass and change in fat mass predicted insulin resistance change over ~3 years in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women. Exposure to specific ART (d4T, AZT, EFV) did not predict insulin resistance change in ART-treated HIV-infected Rwandan women.
PMCID: PMC4400132  PMID: 25880634
5.  Prevalence of shingles and its association with PTSD among HIV-infected women in Rwanda 
BMJ Open  2015;5(3):e005506.
To examine the prevalence of reported shingles in the last 6 months and its association with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and severity of HIV disease in Rwandan women with HIV.
This cross-sectional study was conducted as part of the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA), an observational cohort study designed to assess the impact of HIV and residual factors from experiencing rape in the 1994 genocide in Rwandan women. Participants were recruited through grassroots women's associations of people living with HIV infection and clinical care sites for HIV infection. Most participants (58.5%, n=405/692) had PTSD.
This cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 710 HIV-infected women enrolled in RWISA. Inclusion criteria were: age >15 years, informed consent, HIV test, ability to complete the interview in the local language, travel to and from the research site and participate in a baseline outpatient visit, and being naive to antiretroviral therapy at enrolment.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The outcome of interest was self-reported shingles in the past 6 months. The exposure was PTSD defined using the cross-culturally validated Harvard Trauma Questionnaire.
Overall prevalence of reported shingles in the past 6 months was 12.5% (n=89/710). There was an inverse relationship between shingles prevalence and immunological status: 7.6%, 12.3% and 16.7% of women with CD4 >350, 200–350 and <200 cells/µL, respectively, reported singles (p=0.01). In multivariate analysis, PTSD (aOR 1.7; 95% CI 1.02 to 2.89) and low CD4 (aOR 2.4; 95% CI 1.23 to 4.81) were independently associated with reported shingles in the past 6 months.
Our study found a significant independent relationship between PTSD and reported shingles, suggesting that PTSD may be associated with immune compromise that can result in herpes zoster reactivation. Further study is needed. It also confirmed previous findings of a strong relationship between shingles and greater immunosuppression in women with HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4360726  PMID: 25748413
HIV/AIDS; Shingles; PTSD; Depression
6.  Prevalence and risk factors for High-Risk Human Papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection among HIV-infected and Uninfected Rwandan women: implications for hrHPV-based screening in Rwanda 
New World Health Organization guidelines recommend high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) screen-and-treat strategies for cervical cancer prevention. We describe risk of, and risk factors for, testing hrHPV positive in a pilot study of hrHPV screen-and-treat conducted in Rwanda.
A total of 2,964 women, 1,289 HIV-infected (HIV [+]) and 1,675 HIV-uninfected (HIV [-]), aged 30-60 years and living in Rwanda were enrolled in 2010. Cervical specimens were collected and tested by careHPV, a DNA test for a pool of 14 hrHPV types. Prevalence with binomial 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) and determinants of testing hrHPV positive were calculated.
hrHPV prevalence was higher in HIV [+] (31.8%, 95% CI = 29.2-34.4%) than HIV [-] women (8.2%, 95% CI = 6.7-9.8%; P < 0.0001). Among HIV [+] women, there was a significant trend (ptrend <0.001) of higher hrHPV prevalence with lower CD4 cell count, with the highest hrHPV prevalence among those with <200 CD4 cell counts (45.5%, 95% CI = 34.8-56.4%). In multivariate analysis of HIV [+] women, testing hrHPV positive was positively associated CD4 count of <200 cells/μL, history of 3 or more sexual partners, and history of using hormonal contraception, and negatively associated with older age. In HIV [-] women, testing hrHPV positive was negatively associated only with older age groups of 45-49 and 50-60 years and surprisingly was not associated with lifetime number of sexual partners.
hrHPV prevalence is high in HIV [+], especially in women with the lowest CD4 cell counts, which may have implications for utilizing hrHPV-based screening strategies such as screen-and-treat in these high-risk subgroups.
PMCID: PMC4413542  PMID: 25926864
HPV; HIV; Cervical cancer; Screening
7.  Insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, Endogenous Estradiol, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Postmenopausal Women 
Cancer research  2008;68(1):329-337.
Obesity is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and hyperinsulinemia, a common condition in obese patients, may underlie this relationship. Insulin, in addition to its metabolic effects, has promitotic and antiapoptotic activity that may be tumorigenic. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, a related hormone, shares sequence homology with insulin, and has even stronger mitogenic effects. However, few prospective colorectal cancer studies directly measured fasting insulin, and none evaluated free IGF-I, or endogenous estradiol, a potential cofactor in postmenopausal women. Therefore, we conducted a case-cohort investigation of colorectal cancer among nondiabetic subjects enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a prospective cohort of 93,676 postmenopausal women. Fasting baseline serum specimens from all incident colorectal cancer cases (n = 438) and a random subcohort (n = 816) of Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study subjects were tested for insulin, glucose, total IGF-I, free IGF-I, IGF binding protein-3, and estradiol. Comparing extreme quartiles, insulin [hazard ratio (HR)q4–q1, 1.73; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16–2.57; ptrend = 0.005], waist circumference (HRq4–q1, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.22–2.70; ptrend = 0.001), and free IGF-I (HRq4–q1, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.92–1.98; Ptrend = 0.05) were each associated with colorectal cancer incidence in multivariate models. However, these associations each became nonsignificant when adjusted for one another. Endogenous estradiol levels, in contrast, were positively associated with risk of colorectal cancer (HR comparing high versus low levels, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.05–2.22), even after control for insulin, free IGF-I, and waist circumference. These data suggest the existence of at least two independent biological pathways that are related to colorectal cancer: one that involves endogenous estradiol, and a second pathway broadly associated with obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and free IGF-I.
PMCID: PMC4225702  PMID: 18172327
8.  The Impact of HIV Status, HIV Disease Progression and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors 
We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics.
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall QOL than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
PMCID: PMC4084826  PMID: 23271207
Quality of Life; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; HIV; Women; Rwanda
9.  Concurrent Partnerships and HIV Risk among Men Who Have Sex with Men in New York City 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2014;41(3):200-208.
Concurrent partnerships are a significant public health concern among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study describes the prevalence of concurrency and its association with serodiscordant/serostatus unknown unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse (SDUI) among MSM in New York City.
1,458 MSM completed a social and sexual network inventory about their male and female sex partners, including concurrency, in the last 3 months. Logistic regression identified factors associated with SDUI.
Median age was 29 years. 23.5% reported being HIV+. The men reported mean 3.2 male partners in last 3 months. 16.6% reported having recent SDUI. 63.2% described having concurrent sex partners (individual concurrency based on overlapping dates of relationships); 71.5% reported having partners whom they believed had concurrent partners (perceived partner concurrency); 56.1% reported that both they and their partners had concurrent partners (reciprocal concurrency). Among HIV+ men by self-report, having SDUI was positively associated with individual concurrency, any alcohol use during sex, having more male sex partners, and not having a main partner. Among self-reported HIV- men, having SDUI was positively associated with perceived partner concurrency, lower education level, any alcohol and drug use during sex, having more male sex partners, and having an anonymous partner.
Concurrency was common among MSM. The association of SDUI with individual and perceived partner concurrency, along with substance use during sex, having an anonymous partner, and having many sex partners likely further increases HIV acquisition and transmission risk among MSM. HIV prevention interventions should address concurrency among MSM.
PMCID: PMC4171743  PMID: 24521727
10.  A randomized trial of enhanced HIV risk reduction and vaccine trial education interventions among HIV-negative, high-risk women who use non-injection drugs: The UNITY Study 
Limited data are available on interventions to reduce sexual risk behaviors and increase knowledge of HIV vaccine trial concepts in high risk populations eligible to participate in HIV vaccine efficacy trials.
The UNITY Study was a two-arm randomized trial to determine the efficacy of enhanced HIV risk reduction and vaccine trial education interventions to reduce the occurrence of unprotected vaginal sex acts and increase HIV vaccine trial knowledge among 311 HIV-negative non-injection drug using women. The enhanced vaccine education intervention using pictures along with application vignettes and enhanced risk reduction counseling consisting of three one-on-one counseling sessions were compared to standard conditions. Follow-up visits at one week and one, six and twelve months after randomization included HIV testing and assessment of outcomes.
During follow up, the percent of women reporting sexual risk behaviors declined significantly, but did not differ significantly by study arm. Knowledge of HIV vaccine trial concepts significantly increased but did not significantly differ by study arm. Concepts about HIV vaccine trials not adequately addressed by either condition included those related to testing a vaccine for both efficacy and safety, guarantees about participation in future vaccine trials, assurances of safety, medical care, and assumptions about any protective effect of a test vaccine.
Further research is needed to boost educational efforts and strengthen risk reduction counseling among high-risk non-injection drug using women.
PMCID: PMC4154582  PMID: 20190585
HIV; vaccines; behavioral intervention; women; substance use
11.  Food Insecurity with Hunger Is Associated with Obesity among HIV-Infected and at Risk Women in Bronx, NY 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105957.
Food insecurity, insufficient quality and quantity of nutritionally adequate food, affects millions of people in the United States (US) yearly, with over 18 million Americans reporting hunger. Food insecurity is associated with obesity in the general population. Due to the increasing prevalence of obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected women, we sought to determine the relationship between food insecurity and obesity in this cohort of urban, HIV-infected and –uninfected but at risk women.
Using a cross-sectional design, we collected data on food insecurity, body mass index and demographic and clinical data from 231 HIV-infected and 119 HIV-negative women enrolled in Bronx site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors associated with obesity.
Food insecurity was highly prevalent, with almost one third of women (110/350, 31%) reporting food insecurity over the previous six months and over 13% of women reported food insecurity with hunger. Over half the women were obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥30. In multivariate analyses, women who were food insecure with hunger had higher odds of obesity (Adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.56, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.27, 5.20) after adjusting for HIV status, age, race, household status, income, drug and alcohol use.
Food insecurity with hunger was associated with obesity in this population of HIV-infected and –uninfected, urban women. Both food insecurity and obesity are independent markers for increased mortality; further research is needed to understand this relationship and their role in adverse health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4146558  PMID: 25162598
12.  Plasma and Mucosal HIV Viral Loads Are Associated with Genital Tract Inflammation In HIV-Infected Women 
Systemic and mucosal inflammation may play a role in HIV control. A cross-sectional comparison was conducted among women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to explore the hypothesis that compared to HIV-uninfected participants, women with HIV and in particular, those with high plasma viral load (PVL) have increased levels of mucosal and systemic inflammatory mediators and impaired mucosal endogenous antimicrobial activity.
19 HIV-uninfected, 40 HIV-infected on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with PVL ≤ 2600 copies/ml (low viral load) (HIV+-LVL), and 19 HIV-infected on or off ART with PVL >10,000 (high viral load) (HIV+-HVL) were evaluated. Immune mediators and viral RNA were quantified in plasma and cervicovaginal lavage (CVL). CVL antimicrobial activity was also determined.
Compared to HIV-uninfected, HIV+-HVL women had higher levels of mucosal, but not systemic pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, higher Nugent scores, and lower E. coli bactericidal activity. In contrast, there were no significant differences between HIV+-LVL and HIV-uninfected controls. After adjusting for PVL, HIV genital tract shedding was significantly associated with higher CVL concentrations of IL-6, IL-1β, MIP-1α, and RANTES and higher plasma concentrations of MIP-1α. High PVL was associated with higher CVL levels of IL-1β and RANTES, as well as with higher Nugent scores, lower E. coli bactericidal activity, smoking and lower CD4 counts; smoking and CD4 count retained statistical significance in a multivariate model.
Further study is needed to determine if the relationship between mucosal inflammation and PVL is causal and to determine if reducing mucosal inflammation is beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3706034  PMID: 23591635
HIV; HSV; mucosal immunity; inflammation; female genital tract; WIHS
14.  Mental Illness and Length of Inpatient Stay for Medicaid Recipients with AIDS 
Health Services Research  2004;39(5):1319-1340.
To examine the associations between comorbid mental illness and length of hospital stays (LOS) among Medicaid beneficiaries with AIDS.
Data Source and Collection/Study Setting
Merged 1992–1998 Medicaid claims and AIDS surveillance data obtained from the State of New Jersey for adults with ≥1 inpatient stay after an AIDS diagnosis from 1992 to 1996.
Study Design
Observational study of 6,247 AIDS patients with 24,975 inpatient visits. Severe mental illness (SMI) and other less severe mental illness (OMI) diagnoses at visits were ascertained from ICD–9 Codes. About 4 percent of visits had an SMI diagnosis; 5 percent had an OMI diagnosis; 43 percent did not have a mental illness diagnosis, but were patients who had been identified as having an SMI or OMI history; and 48 percent were from patients with no identified history of mental illness.
Principal Findings
The overall mean hospital LOS was 12.7 days. After adjusting for measures of HIV disease severity and health care access in multivariate models, patients presenting with primary and secondary severe mental illness (SMI) diagnoses had ∼32 percent and ∼11 percent longer LOS, respectively, than did similar patients without a mental illness history (p<0.001 for each). But in these adjusted models of length of stay: (1) diagnosis of OMI was not related to LOS, and (2) in the absence of a mental illness diagnosed at the visit, an identified history of either SMI or OMI was also not related to LOS. In adjusted models of time to readmission for a new visit, current diagnosis of SMI or OMI and in the absences of a current diagnosis, history of SMI or OMI all tended to be associated with quicker readmission.
This study finds greater (adjusted) LOS for AIDS patients diagnosed with severe mental illness (but not for those diagnosed with less severe mental comorbidity) at a visit. The effect of acute severe mental illness on hospitalization time may be comparable to that of an acute AIDS opportunistic illness. While previous research raises concerns that mental illness increases LOS by interfering with treatment of HIV conditions, the associations here may simply indicate that extra time is needed to treat severe mental illnesses or arrange for discharge of afflicted patients.
PMCID: PMC1361072  PMID: 15333111
AIDS; HIV disease; hospitalization; length of stay; mental illness
15.  Association Of Hepatitis C With Markers Of Hemostasis In HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common. HIV infection and treatment are associated with hypercoaguability; thrombosis in HCV is under-investigated. Proposed markers of hemostasis in HIV include higher D-dimer, Factor VIII% and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1Ag), and lower total Protein S% (TPS), but have not been examined in HCV. We assessed the independent association of HCV with these four measures of hemostasis in a multicenter, prospective study of HIV: the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
We randomly selected 450 HCV-infected (anti-HCV+ with detectable plasma HCV RNA) and 450 HCV-uninfected (anti-HCV−) women. HCV was the main exposure of interest in regression models.
443 HCV+ and 425 HCV− women were included. HCV+ women had higher Factor VIII% (124.4% ±3.9 vs. 101.8% ±3.7, p <0.001) and lower TPS (75.7% ±1.1 vs. 84.3% ±1.1, <0.001) than HCV−, independent of HIV infection and viral load; there was little difference in PAI-1Ag or log10 D-dimer. After adjustment for confounders, these inferences remained. HIV infection was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and log10 D-dimer, and lower TPS.
HCV was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and lower TPS consistent with hypercoaguability. Higher Factor VIII % and D-dimer and lower total Protein S % were also strongly associated with HIV infection and levels of HIV viremia, independent of HCV infection. Further investigation is needed to determine if there is increased thrombotic risk from HCV. Studies examining hemostasis markers in HIV infection must also assess the contribution of HCV infection.
PMCID: PMC3652915  PMID: 23221984
16.  Correlates of Unprotected Vaginal or Anal Intercourse with Women among Substance-Using Men Who Have Sex with Men 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(3):889-899.
The role men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) play in heterosexual HIV transmission is not well understood. We analyzed baseline data from Project MIX, a behavioral intervention study of substance-using men who have sex with men (MSM), and identified correlates of unprotected vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or both with women (UVAI). Approximately 10% (n=194) of the men reported vaginal sex, anal sex, or both with a woman; of these substance-using MSMW, 66% (129) reported UVAI. Among substance-using MSMW, multivariate analyses found unemployment relative to full/part-time employment (OR=2.28; 95% CI 1.01, 5.17), having a primary female partner relative to no primary female partner (OR=3.44; CI 1.4, 8.46), and higher levels of treatment optimism (OR=1.73; 95% CI 1.18, 2.54) increased odds of UVAI. Strong feelings of connection to a same-race gay community (OR=0.71; 95% CI 0.56, 0.91) and Viagra use (OR=0.31; 95% CI 0.10, 0.95) decreased odds of UVAI. This work suggests that although the proportion of substance-using MSM who also have sex with women is low, these men engage in unprotected sex with women, particularly with primary female partners. This work highlights the need for further research with the substance using MSMW population to inform HIV prevention interventions specifically for MSMW.
PMCID: PMC3693735  PMID: 23229336
bisexual; heterosexual; HIV; MSMW; condom usage
17.  “Straight Talk” for African American heterosexual men: Results of a single-arm behavioral intervention trial 
AIDS care  2012;25(5):627-631.
In the United States, heterosexual transmission is the second leading cause of HIV/AIDS, and two-thirds of all heterosexually acquired cases diagnosed between 2005 and 2008 occurred among African Americans. Few HIV prevention interventions have been designed specifically for African American heterosexual men not seeking clinical treatment. Here we report results of a single-arm intervention trial of a theory-based HIV prevention intervention designed to increase condom use, reduce concurrent partnering and increase HIV testing, among heterosexually active, African American men living in high HIV prevalence areas of New York City. We tested our hypothesis using McNemar discordant pairs exact test for binary variables and paired t-tests for continuous variables. We observed statistically significant declines in mean number of total and new female partners, unprotected sex partners and partner concurrency in both primary and non-primary sex partnerships between baseline and three months post-intervention.
PMCID: PMC3693736  PMID: 23005899
18.  Associations of HIV infection with insulin and glucose levels in antiretroviral-naïve Rwandan women: a cross-sectional analysis 
BMJ Open  2013;3(12):e003879.
The purpose of these analyses was to determine the associations of HIV infection and related immune dysfunction with a glucose homeostasis in the population of antiretroviral-naïve HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women. We hypothesise that insulin resistance and its consequences in the developing countries may be further elevated with HIV infection itself regardless of antiretroviral therapy.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Community-based women's associations.
In 2005, 710 HIV-infected (HIV positive) antiretroviral naïve and 226 HIV-uninfected (HIV negative) women were enrolled in the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA). Clinical and demographic parameters, CD4 count, fasting insulin and glucose levels, anthropometric measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) were obtained. Linear models were fit to log-transformed Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) with results exponentiated back to a multiplicative effect on the original scale.
Primary outcome measures
The outcome, insulin resistance, was measured by the HOMA, calculated as fasting insulin (μU/mL)×fasting glucose (mmol/L)⁄22.5.
In adjusted models, HIV-positive women were less insulin resistant than HIV-negative; an HIV-positive woman tended to have 0.728 times as much (95% CI 0.681 to 0.861) HOMA than a comparable HIV-negative woman. Among the HIV-positive women, those with CD4 <200 cells/µL tended to have 0.741 times as much HOMA (95% CI 0.601 to 0.912) as did comparable women with CD4 >350 cells/µL. The older age was independently associated with a lower HOMA insulin resistance. After adjusting for body mass index, fat and fat-free mass were not independently associated with HOMA.
This study found that HIV infection and more advanced HIV infection (CD4 counts <200 cells/µL) were associated with greater insulin sensitivity in antiretroviral naïve African women. These findings provide baseline information for the interpretation of future studies on the effect of antiretroviral therapy on metabolic insulin sensitivity derangements in African population.
PMCID: PMC3855496  PMID: 24319275
Diabetes & Endocrinology; Epidemiology
19.  Methods to Measure the Impact of Home, Social, and Sexual Neighborhoods of Urban Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75878.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 61% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2010. Recent analyses indicate that socio-structural factors are important correlates of HIV infection. NYCM2M was a cross-sectional study designed to identify neighborhood-level characteristics within the urban environment that influence sexual risk behaviors, substance use and depression among MSM living in New York City. The sample was recruited using a modified venue-based time-space sampling methodology and through select websites and mobile applications.
This paper describes novel methodological approaches used to improve the quality of data collected for analysis of the impact of neighborhoods on MSM health. Previous research has focused predominately on residential neighborhoods and used pre-determined administrative boundaries (e.g., census tracts) that often do not reflect authentic and meaningful neighborhoods. This study included the definition and assessment of multiple neighborhoods of influence including where men live (home neighborhood), socialize (social neighborhood) and have sex (sexual neighborhood). Furthermore, making use of technological advances in mapping, we collected geo-points of reference for each type of neighborhood and identified and constructed self-identified neighborhood boundary definitions. Finally, this study collected both perceived neighborhood characteristics and objective neighborhood conditions to create a comprehensive, flexible and rich neighborhood-level set of covariates. This research revealed that men perceived their home, social and sexual neighborhoods in different ways. Few men (15%) had the same home, social and sexual neighborhoods; for 31%, none of the neighborhoods was the same. Of the three types of neighborhoods, the number of unique social neighborhoods was the lowest; the size of sexual neighborhoods was the smallest. The resultant dataset offers the opportunity to conduct analyses that will yield context-specific and nuanced understandings of the relations among neighborhood space, and the well-being and health of urban MSM.
PMCID: PMC3797712  PMID: 24146785
20.  Sociodemographic and Risk Behavior Characteristics Associated with Unprotected Sex with Women among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women in New York City 
AIDS care  2012;24(9):1111-1119.
The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to compare sociodemographic and risk behavior characteristics between black men who have sex with both men and women (MSMW) and those who have sex with men only (MSMO) and assess factors associated with having any unprotected vaginal and/or anal intercourse (UVAI) with women in the last 3 months. Data from 326 black men who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with a man in an HIV behavioral intervention study in New York City were analyzed. Baseline characteristics were compared between MSMW and MSMO, and factors associated with having any UVAI in the past 3 months with women among MSMW were evaluated. In total, 26.8% reported having sex with both men and women in the last 3 months. MSMW were less likely to be HIV-infected, use amyl nitrates, and have unprotected receptive anal sex with most recent male partner. MSMW were more likely to be over 40 years old and use heroin. 55.6% of MSMW reported having UVAI with women in the last 3 months. Compared to MSMW having only protected sex, MSMW having any UVAI with women were less likely to be HIV-infected and to disclose having sex with men to female partners; they were more likely to have greater than 4 male sex partners in the last 3 months. In conclusion, HIV prevention interventions among black MSMW should directly address the risk of HIV transmission to both their female and male partners. Disclosure of bisexuality to female partners may be an important component of future prevention efforts.
PMCID: PMC3704079  PMID: 22533637
Black MSMW; men who have sex with men and women; bisexuality; HIV/AIDS
21.  Stavudine (d4T) concentrations in women receiving post-partum antiretroviral treatment and their breastfeeding infants 
First-line antiretroviral treatment regimens in resource-limited settings used in breastfeeding mothers often include stavudine (d4T). Limited data describing d4T concentrations in breast milk are available. We analyzed d4T concentrations in 52 mother-infant pairs using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (lower limit of quantification: 5 ng/ml in plasma, 20 ng/ml in breast milk). Median (interquartile range) d4T concentrations were 86 (36–191) ng/ml in maternal plasma, 151 (48–259) ng/ml in whole milk, 190 (58–296) ng/ml in skim milk, and <5 (<5-<5) ng/ml in infant plasma. While d4T is concentrated in breast milk relative to maternal plasma, the infant d4T dose received from breast milk is very small and not clinically significant.
PMCID: PMC3404155  PMID: 22614899
stavudine concentrations; breast milk; mother-to-child transmission; HIV
22.  The Effect of HAART on HIV RNA Trajectory Among Treatment Naïve Men and Women: a Segmental Bernoulli/Lognormal Random Effects Model with Left Censoring 
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)  2010;21(0 4):S25-S34.
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) rapidly suppresses human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viral replication and reduces circulating viral load, but the long-term effects of HAART on viral load remain unclear.
We evaluated HIV viral load trajectories over 8 years following HAART initiation in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study and the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. The study included 157 HIV-infected men and 199 HIV-infected women who were antiretroviral naïve and contributed 1311 and 1837 semiannual person-visits post-HAART, respectively. To account for within-subject correlation and the high proportion of left-censored viral loads, we used a segmental Bernoulli/lognormal random effects model.
Approximately 3 months (0.30 years for men and 0.22 years for women) after HAART initiation, HIV viral loads were optimally suppressed (ie, with very low HIV RNA) for 44% (95% confidence interval = 39%–49%) of men and 43% (38%–47%) of women, whereas the other 56% of men and 57% of women had on average 2.1 (1.5–2.6) and 3.0 (2.7–3.2) log10 copies/mL, respectively.
After 8 years on HAART, 75% of men and 80% of women had optimal suppression, whereas the rest of the men and women had suboptimal suppression with a median HIV RNA of 3.1 and 3.7 log10 copies/mL, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3736572  PMID: 20386106
23.  Antibody Maturation and Viral Diversification in HIV-Infected Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57350.
The Post-exposure Prophylaxis in Infants (PEPI)-Malawi trial evaluated infant antiretroviral regimens for prevention of post-natal HIV transmission. A multi-assay algorithm (MAA) that includes the BED capture immunoassay, an avidity assay, CD4 cell count, and viral load was used to identify women who were vs. were not recently infected at the time of enrollment (MAA recent, N = 73; MAA non-recent, N = 2,488); a subset of the women in the MAA non-recent group known to have been HIV infected for at least 2 years before enrollment (known non-recent, N = 54). Antibody maturation and viral diversification were examined in these women.
Samples collected at enrollment (N = 2,561) and 12–24 months later (N = 1,306) were available for serologic analysis using the BED and avidity assays. A subset of those samples was used for analysis of viral diversity, which was performed using a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay. Viral diversity analysis was performed using all available samples from women in the MAA recent group (61 enrollment samples, 38 follow-up samples) and the known non-recent group (43 enrollment samples, 22 follow-up samples). Diversity data from PEPI-Malawi were also compared to similar data from 169 adults in the United States (US) with known recent infection (N = 102) and known non-recent infection (N = 67).
In PEPI-Malawi, results from the BED and avidity assays increased over time in the MAA recent group, but did not change significantly in the MAA non-recent group. At enrollment, HIV diversity was lower in the MAA recent group than in the known non-recent group. HRM diversity assay results from women in PEPI-Malawi were similar to those from adults in the US with known duration of HIV infection.
Antibody maturation and HIV diversification patterns in African women provide additional support for use of the MAA to identify populations with recent HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3583828  PMID: 23460842
24.  Differences in the Nonuse of any Contraception and Use of Specific Contraceptive Methods in HIV Positive and HIV Negative Rwandan Women 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2012;2012:367604.
Contraception can reduce the dual burden of high fertility and high HIV prevalence in sub-Sahara Africa, but significant barriers remain regarding access and use. We describe factors associated with nonuse of contraception and with use of specific contraceptive methods in HIV positive and HIV negative Rwandan women. Data from 395 HIV-positive and 76 HIV-negative women who desired no pregnancy in the previous 6 months were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify clinical and demographic characteristics that predict contraceptive use. Differences in contraceptive methods used were dependent on marital/partner status, partner's knowledge of a woman's HIV status, and age. Overall, condoms, abstinence, and hormonal methods were the most used, though differences existed by HIV status. Less than 10% of women both HIV+ and HIV− used no contraception. Important differences exist between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women with regard to contraceptive method use that should be addressed by interventions seeking to improve contraceptive prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3533450  PMID: 23304468
25.  Analysis of HIV Using a High Resolution Melting (HRM) Diversity Assay: Automation of HRM Data Analysis Enhances the Utility of the Assay for Analysis of HIV Incidence 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51359.
HIV diversity may be a useful biomarker for discriminating between recent and non-recent HIV infection. The high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay was developed to quantify HIV diversity in viral populations without sequencing. In this assay, HIV diversity is expressed as a single numeric HRM score that represents the width of a melting peak. HRM scores are highly associated with diversity measures obtained with next generation sequencing. In this report, a software package, the HRM Diversity Assay Analysis Tool (DivMelt), was developed to automate calculation of HRM scores from melting curve data.
DivMelt uses computational algorithms to calculate HRM scores by identifying the start (T1) and end (T2) melting temperatures for a DNA sample and subtracting them (T2–T1 = HRM score). DivMelt contains many user-supplied analysis parameters to allow analyses to be tailored to different contexts. DivMelt analysis options were optimized to discriminate between recent and non-recent HIV infection and to maximize HRM score reproducibility. HRM scores calculated using DivMelt were compared to HRM scores obtained using a manual method that is based on visual inspection of DNA melting curves.
HRM scores generated with DivMelt agreed with manually generated HRM scores obtained from the same DNA melting data. Optimal parameters for discriminating between recent and non-recent HIV infection were identified. DivMelt provided greater discrimination between recent and non-recent HIV infection than the manual method.
DivMelt provides a rapid, accurate method of determining HRM scores from melting curve data, facilitating use of the HRM diversity assay for large-scale studies.
PMCID: PMC3519891  PMID: 23240016

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