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1.  Development of IgG Mediated Antibody Dependent Cell-mediated Cytotoxicity (ADCC) in the Serum and Genital Mucosa of HIV Seroconverters 
Background
We measured antibody-dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity in serum and genital fluids of heterosexually exposed women during HIV seroconversion.
Methods
Plasma and cervico-vaginal lavage (CVL) fluid from 11 seroconverters (SC) were analyzed biannually from one year pre- to 6 year post-seroconversion using a 51Cr-release assay to measure HIV-1 gp120 specific ADCC.
Results
No SC had significant HIV specific CVL ADCC activity before seroconversion or until 1.5 yr after seroconversion. One individual had a %Specific Release (SR) of 25.4 at 2 years, 26.7 at 3 years and 21.0 at 4 years after seroconversion in CVL. Another sample had 4.7% SR at 2 years, 5.3 at 3 years, 10.9 at 4 years, and 8.4 at 5 years after seroconversion in CVL. A third had no activity until 17% SR 5 years after seroconversion in CVL. A fourth showed activity of 36.5% SR at 6.5 years after seroconversion. Seven women had no ADCC activity in their CVL. Paired serum samples showed HIV specific ADCC activity prior to the appearance of CVL ADCC activity.
Conclusions
HIV specific ADCC activity in CVL rose 2 years after seroconversion; ADCC was present in the serum prior to this time. These data suggest that genital tract ADCC activity is not present until well after acute infection.
doi:10.4172/2155-6113.1000479
PMCID: PMC4718584  PMID: 26798561
Women; HIV; Seroconverters; Antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity
2.  Risk of Breast Cancer with CXCR4-using HIV Defined by V3-Loop Sequencing  
Objective
Evaluate the risk of female breast cancer associated with HIV-CXCR4 (X4) tropism as determined by various genotypic measures.
Methods
A breast cancer case-control study, with pairwise comparisons of tropism determination methods, was conducted. From the Women's Interagency HIV Study repository, one stored plasma specimen was selected from 25 HIV-infected cases near the breast cancer diagnosis date and 75 HIV-infected control women matched for age and calendar date. HIVgp120-V3 sequences were derived by Sanger population sequencing (PS) and 454-pyro deep sequencing (DS). Sequencing-based HIV-X4 tropism was defined using the geno2pheno algorithm, with both high-stringency DS [False-Positive-Rate (FPR 3.5) and 2% X4 cutoff], and lower stringency DS (FPR 5.75, 15% X4 cut-off). Concordance of tropism results by PS, DS, and previously performed phenotyping was assessed with kappa (κ) statistics. Case-control comparisons used exact P-values and conditional logistic regression.
Results
In 74 women (19 cases, 55 controls) with complete results, prevalence of HIV-X4 by PS was 5% in cases vs 29% in controls (P=0.06, odds ratio 0.14, confidence interval 0.003-1.03). Smaller case-control prevalence differences were found with high-stringency DS (21% vs 36%, P=0.32), lower-stringency DS (16% vs 35%, P=0.18), and phenotyping (11% vs 31%, P=0.10). HIV-X4-tropism concordance was best between PS and lower-stringency DS (93%, κ=0.83). Other pairwise concordances were 82%-92% (κ=0.56-0.81). Concordance was similar among cases and controls.
Conclusions
HIV-X4 defined by population sequencing (PS) had good agreement with lower stringency deep sequencing and was significantly associated with lower odds of breast cancer.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000400
PMCID: PMC4262599  PMID: 25321183
Chemokine receptors; HIV; AIDS; breast cancer; parallel sequencing; women
3.  Relationship between Body Mass Index and Mortality in HIV-Infected HAART Users in the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(12):e0143740.
Background
Early HIV studies suggested protective associations of overweight against mortality, yet data are lacking for the era of potent highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We evaluated associations of pre-HAART initiation body mass index (BMI) with mortality among HAART-using women.
Methods
Prospective study of time to death after HAART initiation among continuous HAART users in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Unadjusted Kaplan–Meier and adjusted proportional hazards survival models assessed time to AIDS and non-AIDS death by last measured pre-HAART BMI.
Results
Of 1428 continuous HAART users 39 (2.7%) were underweight, 521 (36.5%) normal weight, 441 (30.9%) overweight, and 427 (29.9%) obese at time of HAART initiation. A total of 322 deaths occurred during median follow-up of 10.4 years (IQR 5.9–14.6). Censoring at non-AIDS death, the highest rate of AIDS death was observed among underweight women (p = 0.0003 for all 4 categories). In multivariate models, women underweight prior to HAART died from AIDS more than twice as rapidly vs. normal weight women (aHR 2.04, 95% CI 1.03, 4.04); but being overweight or obese (vs. normal weight) was not independently associated with AIDS death. Cumulative incidence of non-AIDS death was similar across all pre-HAART BMI categories.
Conclusions
Among continuous HAART-using women, being overweight prior to initiation was not associated with lower risk of AIDS or non-AIDS death. Being underweight prior to HAART was associated with over double the rate of AIDS death in adjusted analyses. Although overweight and obesity may be associated with many adverse health conditions, neither was predictive of mortality among the HAART-using women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143740
PMCID: PMC4689347  PMID: 26699870
4.  Use of Traditional Botanical Medicines During Pregnancy in Rural Rwanda 
Journal of global health perspectives  2015;2015:http://jglobalhealth.org/article/use-of-traditional-botanical-medicines-during-pregnancy-in-rural-rwanda/.
Objective
To evaluate the perceptions of healthcare and traditional medicine providers regarding the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of traditional medicine use amongst pregnant women in a rural Rwandan population.
Methods
Six focus groups with physicians, nurses, and community health workers and four individual in-depth interviews with traditional medicine providers were held. Qualitative data was gathered using a structured questionnaire querying perceptions of the type, indications, side effects, and prevalence of use of traditional medicines in pregnancy.
Results
The healthcare provider groups perceived a high prevalence of traditional botanical medicine use by pregnant women (50-80%). All three groups reported similar indications for use of the medicines and the socioeconomic status of the pregnant women who use them. The traditional medicine providers and the healthcare providers both perceived that the most commonly used medicine is a mixture of many plants, called Inkuri. The most serious side effect reported was abnormally bright green meconium with a poor neonatal respiratory drive. Thirty-five traditional medicines were identified that are used during pregnancy.
Conclusion
Perceptions of high prevalence of use of traditional medicines during pregnancy with possible negative perinatal outcomes exist in areas of rural Rwanda.
PMCID: PMC4634644  PMID: 26550548
5.  Association of Chronic Hepatitis C Infection with T-Cell Phenotypes in HIV-Negative and HIV-Positive Women 
Background
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia is thought to have broad, systemic effects on the cellular immune system that go beyond its impact on just those T-cells that are HCV-specific. However, prior studies of chronic HCV and circulating T-cell subsets (activation and differentiation phenotypes) in HIV-negatives used general population controls, rather than a risk-appropriate comparison group. Studies in HIV-positives did not address overall immune status (total CD4+ count).
Methods
We used fresh blood from HIV-positive and at-risk HIV-negative women, with and without chronic HCV, to measure percentages of activated CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, Tregs, and T-cell differentiation phenotypes (naïve, central memory (CM), effector memory (EM), and terminally differentiated effector). This included 158 HIV-negatives and 464 HIV-positives, of whom 18 and 63, respectively, were HCV viremic.
Results
In multivariate models of HIV-negatives, HCV viremia was associated with 25% fewer naïve CD4+ (P=0.03), 33% more EM CD4+ (P=0.0002) and 37% fewer CM CD8+ (P=0.02) T-cells. Among HIV-positives we observed only one of these three relationships: higher percentage of EM CD4+ among HCV viremic women. Further, the association with EM CD4+ among HIV-positives was limited to individuals with diminished immune status (total CD4+ count ≤500 cells/μL), as were associations of HCV viremia with higher percentages of activated CD4+ and Tregs. Among HIV-positives with high CD4+ count, no significant associations were observed.
Conclusions
These data suggest that HCV viremia in HIV-negatives is associated with accelerated T-cell differentiation, but among HIV-positives the impact of HCV viremia is less straightforward and varies by total CD4+ count.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000310
PMCID: PMC4197408  PMID: 25314250
hepatitis C virus; HIV; T-cell; phenotype; activation; differentiation
6.  T-cell Activation, Both Pre- and Post-HAART Levels, Correlates with Carotid Artery Stiffness over 6.5 years among HIV-infected Women in the WIHS 
Objective
T-cell activation is a major pathway driving HIV disease progression. Little is known regarding the impact of T-cell activation on HIV-associated atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, a common co-morbidity in HIV infection. We hypothesized that T-cell activation will predict vascular stiffness, a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis.
Design
Linear regression models evaluated the covariate-adjusted association of T-cell activation with vascular stiffness.
Methods
CD38 and HLA-DR expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells was assessed by flow cytometry among 59 HIV-negative and 376 HIV-infected (185 hepatitis-C co-infected) women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). T-cell activation was defined by CD8+CD38+DR+ and CD4+CD38+DR+. Multiple activation assessments over 6.5 years were averaged. In 140 women, T-cell activation was measured before and after HAART initiation. Carotid artery ultrasounds were completed a median of 6.5 years after last measurement of T- cell activation and carotid artery stiffness including distensibility and elasticity were calculated.
Results
Percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell activation were significantly higher in HIV- infected compared to HIV-negative women. Among HIV-negative women, T-cell activation was not associated with carotid artery stiffness. Among HIV-infected women, higher CD4+ T-cell activation significantly predicted increased arterial stiffness independent of CD4 cell count and HIV RNA. The association was stronger among HIV/HCV co-infected compared to HIV-mono- infected women; however, the difference was not statistically significant (p-for interaction>0.05). Pre- and post-HAART levels of CD4+ T-cell activation significantly predicted carotid artery stiffness.
Conclusions
Persistent T-cell activation, even after HAART initiation, can contribute to structural and/or functional vascular damage accelerating atherogenesis in HIV infection. These results need to be confirmed in a longitudinal prospective study.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000311
PMCID: PMC4197806  PMID: 25314253
T-cell activation; arterial stiffness; HIV-infection
7.  Association of Markers of Hemostasis with Death in HIV-infected Women 
In HIV-negatives, markers of hemostasis including D-dimer, Factor VIII, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen (PAI-1) and total protein S are associated with all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. In HIV-positives, studies of D-dimer and Factor VIII with death were limited to short follow-up; associations of PAI-1 and total protein S with death have not been examined.
In 674 HIV-infected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), markers from the first visit after enrollment were exposures of interest in multivariate analyses of death (AIDS and non-AIDS) in separate models at 5 and 16 years.
There were 87 AIDS and 44 non-AIDS deaths at 5 years, and 159 AIDS and 113 non-AIDS deaths at 16 years. An inverse association of total protein S quartiles with non-AIDS deaths was observed at 5 (p-trend=0.002) and 16 years (p-trend=0.02); there was no association with AIDS deaths. The 3rd quartile of PAI-1 was associated with AIDS deaths at 5 (hazard ratio (HR)=4.0, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.9–8.4) and 16 years (HR=3.4, 95% CI=1.9–5.9); and with non-AIDS deaths at 5 years (HR=4.8, 95%CI=1.6,13.9). D-dimer and Factor VIII were not associated with AIDS or non-AIDS death at 5 or 16 years.
Lower total Protein S was a consistent marker of non-AIDS death. We found no association between D-dimer with AIDS or non-AIDS death, in contrast to previous studies showing increased short term (<5 years) mortality, which may represent sex differences or population heterogeneity. Given longer survival on HAART, further studies of these markers are needed to determine their prognostic value.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000306
PMCID: PMC4197808  PMID: 25314249
8.  Serum Albumin and Kidney Function Decline in HIV-Infected Women 
Background
Serum albumin concentrations are a strong predictor of mortality and cardiovascular disease in HIV-infected individuals. We studied the longitudinal associations between serum albumin levels and kidney function decline in a population of HIV-infected women.
Study Design
Retrospective cohort analysis.
Setting & Participants
The study participants were recruited from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a large observational study designed to understand risk factors for the progression of HIV infection in women living in urban communities. 908 participants had baseline assessment of kidney function and two follow-up measures over an average of 8 years.
Predictor
The primary predictor was serum albumin concentration.
Outcomes
We examined annual change in kidney function. Secondary outcomes included rapid kidney function decline and incident reduced estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).
Measurements
Kidney function decline was determined by cystatin C–based (eGFRcys) and creatinine-based eGFR (eGFRcr) at baseline and follow up. Each model was adjusted for kidney disease and HIV-related risk factors using linear and relative risk regression.
Results
After multivariate adjustment, each 0.5-g/dL decrement in baseline serum albumin concentration was associated with a 0.56-mL/min faster annual decline in eGFRcys (P<0.001), which was only slightly attenuated to 0.55-mL/min/1.73 m2 after adjustment for albuminuria. Results were similar whether using eGFRcys or eGFRcr. In adjusted analyses, each 0.5-g/dL lower baseline serum albumin was associated with a 1.71-fold greater risk of rapid kidney function decline (p<0.001) and a 1.72-fold greater risk of incident reduced eGFR (p<0.001).
Limitations
The cohort is composed of only female participants from urban communities within the United States.
Conclusions
Lower levels of serum albumin were strongly associated with kidney function decline and incident reduced eGFR in HIV-infected women, independent of HIV disease status, BMI and albuminuria.
doi:10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.05.015
PMCID: PMC4177337  PMID: 25059222
albumin; kidney function; HIV; incident reduced eGFR; albuminuria; disease trajectory; chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression
9.  The association of perceived stress and verbal memory is greater in HIV-infected versus HIV-uninfected women 
Journal of neurovirology  2015;21(4):422-432.
In contrast to findings from cohorts comprised primarily of HIV-infected men, verbal memory deficits are the largest cognitive deficit found in HIV-infected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), and this deficit is not explained by depressive symptoms or substance abuse. HIV-infected women may be at greater risk for verbal memory deficits due to a higher prevalence of cognitive risk factors such as high psychosocial stress and lower socioeconomic status. Here, we investigate the association between perceived stress using the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) and verbal memory performance using the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) in 1009 HIV-infected and 496 at-risk HIV-uninfected WIHS participants. Participants completed a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery which yielded seven cognitive domain scores, including a primary outcome of verbal memory. HIV infection was not associated with a higher prevalence of high perceived stress (i.e., PSS-10 score in the top tertile) but was associated with worse performance on verbal learning (p<0.01) and memory (p<0.001), as well as attention (p=0.02). Regardless of HIV status, high stress was associated with poorer performance in those cognitive domains (p’s< 0.05) as well as processing speed (p=0.01) and executive function (p<0.01). A significant HIV by stress interaction was found only for the verbal memory domain (p=0.02); among HIV-infected women only, high stress was associated with lower performance (p’s<0.001). That association was driven by the delayed verbal memory measure in particular. These findings suggest that high levels of perceived stress contribute to the deficits in verbal memory observed in WIHS women.
doi:10.1007/s13365-015-0331-5
PMCID: PMC4562210  PMID: 25791344
HIV; Verbal memory; Stress; Women; Cognition
10.  Decentralizing Maternity Services to Increase Skilled Attendance at Birth and Antenatal Care Utilization in Rural Rwanda: A Prospective Cohort Study 
Maternal and child health journal  2015;19(9):1949-1955.
To evaluate the effectiveness of decentralizing ambulatory reproductive and intrapartum services to increase rates of antenatal care (ANC) utilization and skilled attendance at birth (SAB) in Rwanda. A prospective cohort study was implemented with one control and two intervention sites: decentralized ambulatory reproductive healthcare and decentralized intrapartum care. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed with primary outcome of lack of SAB and secondary outcome of ≥3 ANC visits. 536 women were entered in the study. Distance lived from delivery site significantly predicted SAB (p = 0.007), however distance lived to ANC site did not predict ≥3 ANC visits (p = 0.81). Neither decentralization of ambulatory reproductive healthcare (p = 0.10) nor intrapartum care (p = 0.40) was significantly associated with SAB. The control site had the greatest percentage of women receive ≥3 ANC visits (p < 0.001). Receiving <3 ANC visits was associated with a 3.98 times greater odds of not having SAB (p = 0.001). No increase in adverse outcomes was found with decentralization of ambulatory reproductive health care or intrapartum care. The factors that predict utilization of physically accessible services in rural Africa are complex. Decentralization of services may be one strategy to increase rates of SAB and ANC utilization, but selection biases may have precluded accurate analysis. Efforts to increase ANC utilization may be a worthwhile investment to increase SAB.
doi:10.1007/s10995-015-1702-5
PMCID: PMC4522213  PMID: 25652061
Global; Decentralization; Skilled birth attendance
11.  Antiretroviral Therapy Modifies the Genetic Effect of Known Type 2 Diabetes-Associated Risk Variants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(12):1815-1823.
Objective
Type 2 diabetes (DM) incidence is increased in HIV-infected persons. We examined the associations of DM with known DM-risk alleles from the general population in the context of HIV infection and explored effect modification by combination antiretroviral treatment (cART).
Methods
The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is a prospective cohort of HIV-infected women. Seventeen European-derived DM-risk polymorphisms were genotyped in eligible WIHS participants. Analyses were run separately for non-African-Americans (Whites, Hispanics, Asians, and other; n=378, 49 with incident DM) and African-Americans (n=591, 49 with incident DM). Cox proportional hazards models were fit to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for DM overall and within strata of cART.
Results
In non-African-Americans, heterogeneity across cART regimen was observed for 9 of 14 polymorphisms (phet<0.05). One polymorphism was statistically significantly inversely associated with DM risk among women taking 2 NRTIs+NNRTI. Five polymorphisms were statistically significantly associated with DM among women treated with ≥2 NRTIs + ≥1 PI and one polymorphism was associated with DM among those treated with ≥3 NRTIs ± NNRTI. The HR per risk allele for IGF2BP2 rs1470579 was 2.67 (95% CI 1.67–4.31) for women taking cART with ≥2 NRTIs+≥1 PI and 2.45 (95% CI 1.08–5.53) in women taking ≥3 NRTIs±NNRTI (phet=2.50×10−3). No such associations were observed in African-Americans.
Conclusions
Genetic susceptibility to DM, based on the variants studied, is substantially elevated among HIV-infected women using cART containing three or more NRTI/PI components. A personalized medicine approach to cART selection may be indicated for HIV-infected persons carrying these DM-risk variants.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000366
PMCID: PMC4269472  PMID: 24932614
type 2 diabetes; genetics; HIV; women; antiretroviral therapy
12.  Genital Tract HIV RNA Levels and Their Associations with Human Papillomavirus Infection and Risk of Cervical Pre-Cancer 
Objective
Plasma HIV RNA levels have been associated with risk of human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical neoplasia in HIV-seropositive women. However, little is known regarding local genital tract HIV RNA levels and their relation with cervical HPV and neoplasia.
Design/Methods
In an HIV-seropositive women’s cohort with semi-annual follow-up, we conducted a nested case-control study of genital tract HIV RNA levels and their relation with incident high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions sub-classified as severe (severe HSIL), as provided for under the Bethesda 2001 classification system. Specifically, 66 incident severe HSIL were matched to 130 controls by age, CD4+ count, HAART use, and other factors. We also studied HPV prevalence, incident detection, and persistence in a random sample of 250 subjects.
Results
Risk of severe HSIL was associated with genital tract HIV RNA levels (odds ratio comparing HIV RNA ≥ the median among women with detectable levels versus undetectable [ORVL] 2.96; 95% CI: 0.99–8.84; Ptrend=0.03). However, this association became non-significant (Ptrend=0.51) following adjustment for plasma HIV RNA levels. There was also no association between genital tract HIV RNA levels and the prevalence of any HPV or oncogenic HPV. However, the incident detection of any HPV (Ptrend=0.02) and persistence of oncogenic HPV (Ptrend=0.04) were associated with genital tract HIV RNA levels, after controlling plasma HIV RNA levels.
Conclusion
These prospective data suggest that genital tract HIV RNA levels are not a significant independent risk factor for cervical pre-cancer in HIV-seropositive women, but leave open the possibility that they may modestly influence HPV infection, an early stage of cervical tumoriogenesis.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000157
PMCID: PMC4267467  PMID: 24694931
Genital tract HIV viral load; cervical neoplasia; HPV natural history
13.  Trends in and correlates of CD4+ cell count at antiretroviral therapy initiation after changes in national ART guidelines in Rwanda 
AIDS (London, England)  2015;29(1):67-76.
Background
Initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the advanced stages of HIV infection remains a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. This study was conducted to better understand barriers and enablers to timely ART initiation in Rwanda where ART coverage is high and national ART eligibility guidelines first expanded in 2007–2008.
Methods
Using data on 6326 patients (≥15 years) at five Rwandan clinics, we assessed trends and correlates of CD4+ cell count at ART initiation and the proportion initiating ART with advanced HIV disease (CD4+ <200 cells/µl or WHO stage IV).
Results
Out of 6326 patients, 4486 enrolling in HIV care initiated ART with median CD4+ cell count of 211 cells/µl [interquartile range: 131–300]. Median CD4+ cell counts at ART initiation increased from 183 cells/µl in 2007 to 293 cells/µl in 2011–2012, and the proportion with advanced HIV disease decreased from 66.2 to 29.4%. Factors associated with a higher odds of advanced HIV disease at ART initiation were male sex [adjusted odds ratios (AOR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.3–2.1] and older age (AOR46–55+ vs. <25 = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2–4.3). Among those initiating ART more than 1 year after enrollment in care, those who had a gap in care of 12 or more months prior to ART initiation had higher odds of advanced HIV disease (AOR = 5.2; 95% CI: 1.2–21.1).
Conclusion
Marked improvements in the median CD4+ cell count at ART initiation and proportion initiating ART with advanced HIV disease were observed following the expansion of ART eligibility criteria in Rwanda. However, sex disparities in late treatment initiation persisted through 2011–2012, and appeared to be driven by later diagnosis and/or delayed linkage to care among men.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000520
PMCID: PMC4487360  PMID: 25562492
antiretroviral therapy national guidelines; CD4+; determinants; HIV treatment; Rwanda
14.  Association of Abnormal Liver Function Parameters with HIV Serostatus and CD4 Count in Antiretroviral-Naive Rwandan Women 
Abstract
We determined the associations of HIV infection/CD4 count with markers of hepatocellular damage [elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT)] and liver synthetic function (decreased albumin) in HIV-infected (HIV+) antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive and uninfected (HIV−) Rwandan women. In 2005, 710 HIV+ ART-naive and 226 HIV− women enrolled in the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment. Liver enzymes were measured with abnormality defined as either AST or ALT ≥1.25 times the upper limit of normal. Low serum albumin level was defined as <3.5 g/dl. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified independent predictors of elevated AST/ALT and low serum albumin. HIV− women had the lowest prevalence (6.6%) of abnormal AST/ALT, with the highest prevalence (16.4%) in HIV+ women with CD4 <200 cells/μl (p=0.01). The odds of having serum albumin <3.5 g/dl was 5.7-fold higher in HIV+ than HIV− women (OR=5.68, 95% CI: 3.32–9.71). The risk of low albumin decreased from low to high CD4 count, with OR=2.62, 95% CI: 1.66, 4.14 and OR=1.57, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.43 in HIV+ women with a CD4 count <200 and 200–350 cells/μl, respectively vs. HIV+ with CD4 >350 (p<0.001 and p<0.05 for all comparisons). Our findings suggest that HIV-associated liver damage may occur in ART-naive patients. Although liver abnormality prevalences in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women are less than reported in developed countries, caution is needed for risk assessment measures to monitor and screen HIV-infected patients pre- and post-ART initiation in African clinical settings to curtail potential risks associated with HIV infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2014.0170
PMCID: PMC4505765  PMID: 25924728
15.  Effect of HIV Infection on Body Composition and Fat Distribution in Rwandan Women 
Objective
To assess the association of HIV infection with body weight and composition in Rwandan women.
Design
Body weight and composition, the latter determined by bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and by anthropometry, were compared in 620 HIV-positive and 211 HIV-negative participants. Associations of HIV with body composition were assessed, and t tests compared the groups.
Results
HIV-positive women were younger (−7.0 years, P < .001) and shorter (− 2.1 cm, P < .001). Mean body weight, body mass index (BMI), total body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) were similar. Mean fat-free mass was 2.5% greater in HIV-negative participants, and 19% of HIV-positive group had BMI <18.5 kg/m2 versus 26% of the HIV-negative group (P < .05). CD4 counts and body composition were not associated.
Conclusions
Malnutrition was common in this cohort of Rwandan women. However, HIV infection was not associated with nutritional status. Factors other than malnutrition may influence quality-of-life outcomes in HIV-infected Rwandan women. Initiatives to improve nutritional status should be population-wide and not restricted to the HIV-infected population.
doi:10.1177/1545109710366472
PMCID: PMC4460979  PMID: 20530472
HIV; malnutrition; body composition; Rwanda; women; fat distribution
16.  Urinary Biomarkers of Kidney Injury Are Associated with All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
HIV medicine  2013;15(5):291-300.
Objectives
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common in HIV; CKD is associated with mortality. Urinary markers of tubular injury have been associated with future kidney disease risk, but associations with mortality are unknown.
Methods
We evaluated the association of urinary interleukin-18(IL-18), liver fatty acid binding protein(L-FABP), kidney injury molecule-1(KIM-1), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin(NGAL), albumin-to-creatinine ratio(ACR) with 10-year, all-cause death in 908 HIV-infected women. Kidney function was estimated using cystatin C (eGFRcys).
Results
There were 201 deaths during 9,269 person-years of follow-up. After demographic adjustment, compared to the lowest tertile, highest tertiles of IL-18 (HR 2.54,95%CI 1.75–3.68), KIM-1 (2.04,1.44–2.89), NGAL(1.50,1.05–2.14), and ACR(1.63,1.13–2.36) were associated with higher mortality. After multivariable adjustment including eGFRcys, only the highest tertiles of IL-18, (1.88,1.29–2.74) and ACR (1.46,1.01–2.12) remained independently associated with mortality. Findings with KIM-1 were borderline (1.41, 0.99–2.02). We found a J-shaped association between L-FABP and mortality. Compared to persons in the lowest tertile, HR for middle tertile of L-FABP was 0.67 (0.46–0.98) after adjustment. Findings were stronger when IL-18, ACR and L-FABP were simultaneously included in models.
Conclusions
Among HIV-infected women, some urinary markers of tubular injury are associated with mortality risk, independently of eGFRcys and ACR. These markers represent potential tools to identify early kidney injury in persons with HIV.
doi:10.1111/hiv.12113
PMCID: PMC3975680  PMID: 24313986
HIV; IL-18; KIM-1; L-FABP; NGAL; urinary biomarkers
17.  Macrophage inflammatory markers are associated with subclinical carotid artery disease in women with HIV or HCV infection 
Objective
Infection with hepatitis C (HCV) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may be associated with atherosclerosis and vascular disease. Macrophages are a major component of atherosclerotic plaque, and classically activated (M1) macrophages contribute to plaque instability. Our goal was to identify plasma biomarkers that reflect macrophage inflammation and are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis.
Approach and results
We tested whether M1 macrophages produce galectin-3 binding protein (Gal-3BP) in-vitro. Then we measured Gal-3BP and the soluble macrophage biomarkers sCD163 and sCD14 in 264 participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Women were positive for HIV, HCV, both, or neither (66 in each group, matched for age, race/ethnicity and smoking status). Carotid artery disease was assessed by ultrasound measurement of right distal common carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT), distensibility, and presence of atherosclerotic lesions (IMT>1.5 mm). Plasma Gal-3BP was higher in HCV+ than HCV− women (p<0.01), but did not differ by HIV status. The three inflammatory macrophage markers were significantly correlated with each other and negatively correlated with CD4+ counts in HIV-infected women. We defined a macrophage score as 1, 2 or 3 biomarkers elevated above the median. In models adjusted for traditional risk factors, higher macrophage scores were significantly associated with increased atherosclerotic lesions and lower carotid distensibility. Receiver-operator curve analysis of lesions revealed that the markers added predictive value beyond traditional risk factors and C-reactive protein.
Conclusions
The macrophage inflammatory markers Gal-3BP, sCD163 and sCD14 are significantly associated with carotid artery disease in the setting of HIV and HCV infection.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.113.303153
PMCID: PMC4067091  PMID: 24651679
atherosclerosis; women; AIDS; immune system; risk factors
18.  HIV Malaria Co-Infection Is Associated with Atypical Memory B Cell Expansion and a Reduced Antibody Response to a Broad Array of Plasmodium falciparum Antigens in Rwandan Adults 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0124412.
HIV infected individuals in malaria endemic areas experience more frequent and severe malaria episodes compared to non HIV infected. This clinical observation has been linked to a deficiency in antibody responses to Plasmodium falciparum antigens; however, prior studies have only focused on the antibody response to <0.5% of P. falciparum proteins. To obtain a broader and less-biased view of the effect of HIV on antibody responses to malaria we compared antibody profiles of HIV positive (HIV+) and negative (HIV-) Rwandan adults with symptomatic malaria using a microarray containing 824 P. falciparum proteins. We also investigated the cellular basis of the antibody response in the two groups by analyzing B and T cell subsets by flow cytometry. Although HIV malaria co-infected individuals generated antibodies to a large number of P. falciparum antigens, including potential vaccine candidates, the breadth and magnitude of their response was reduced compared to HIV- individuals. HIV malaria co-infection was also associated with a higher percentage of atypical memory B cells (MBC) (CD19+CD10-CD21-CD27-) compared to malaria infection alone. Among HIV+ individuals the CD4+ T cell count and HIV viral load only partially explained variability in the breadth of P. falciparum-specific antibody responses. Taken together, these data indicate that HIV malaria co-infection is associated with an expansion of atypical MBCs and a diminished antibody response to a diverse array of P. falciparum antigens, thus offering mechanistic insight into the higher risk of malaria in HIV+ individuals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124412
PMCID: PMC4415913  PMID: 25928218
19.  Longitudinal Anthropometric Patterns Among HIV-infected and –uninfected Women 
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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..
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318162f597
PMCID: PMC4406344  PMID: 18197125
anthropometrics; HIV; women; waist-to-hip ratio
20.  Determination of HIV-1 coreceptor tropism using proviral DNA in women before and after viral suppression 
Background
An HIV-1 tropism test is recommended prior to CCR5 antagonist administration to exclude patients harboring non-R5 virus from treatment with this class of antiretrovirals. HIV-1 tropism determination based on proviral DNA (pvDNA) may be useful in individuals with plasma viral RNA suppression. We developed a genotypic tropism assay for pvDNA and assessed its performance in a retrospective analysis of samples collected longitudinally.
Results
We randomly selected paired plasma/PBMC samples from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with plasma viral load ≥5,000 cp/mL at time 1 (T1), undetectable viral load maintained for ≥1 year and CD4+ >200 cells/μL at time 2 (T2). pvDNA was isolated from cryopreserved PBMCs. Sequences were analyzed in triplicate from 49/50 women, with tropism assigned using the geno2pheno (g2p) algorithm. The median time between T1 and T2 was 4.1 years. CXCR4-using virus was detected in 24% of the RNA samples and 33% of the pvDNA samples at T1, compared to 37% of the pvDNA samples at T2. Concordance between plasma RNA and pvDNA tropism was 88% at T1 and 80% at T2. The g2p scores for RNA (T1) vs DNA (T1, T2) were strongly correlated (Spearman rho: 0.85 (T1); 0.78 (T2)). In women with evidence of tropism switch at T2 (either R5 to non-R5 or non-R5 to R5), there was a correlation between change in tropism and time. Mean pvDNA viral load decreased by 0.4 log10 copies/106 cells between T1 and T2 (p < 0.0001), but this decrease was not significantly associated with tropism status.
Conclusions
We demonstrated that pvDNA tropism in women with HIV-1 suppression is concordant with prior RNA tropism results, even after a median time of >4 years. pvDNA tropism testing may be useful to determine eligibility of patients with viral suppression to switch to a CCR5-antagonist based regimen as well as for research purposes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12981-015-0055-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12981-015-0055-x
PMCID: PMC4403710  PMID: 25897314
HIV; Tropism; pvDNA
21.  Insulin Resistance Change and Antiretroviral Therapy Exposure in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women: A Longitudinal Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123936.
Background
We longitudinally assessed predictors of insulin resistance (IR) change among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected (ART-initiators and ART-non-initiators) Rwandan women.
Methodology
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123936
PMCID: PMC4400132  PMID: 25880634
22.  Disparities in the Quality of HIV Care When Using US Department of Health and Human Services Indicators 
Althoff, Keri N. | Rebeiro, Peter | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly | Martin, Jeffrey | Hogg, Robert | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Klein, Marina | Gill, M. John | Sterling, Timothy R. | Yehia, Baligh | Silverberg, Michael J. | Crane, Heidi | Justice, Amy C. | Gange, Stephen J. | Moore, Richard | Kitahata, Mari M. | Horberg, Michael A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Kenneth H. | Hogg, Robert S. | Richard Harrigan, P. | Montaner, Julio SG | Cescon, Angela | Samji, Hasina | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann N. | Rachlis, Anita R. | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M.John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Saag, Michael S. | Mugavero, Michael J. | Willig, James | Eron, Joseph J. | Napravnik, Sonia | Kitahata, Mari M. | Crane, Heidi M. | Justice, Amy C. | Dubrow, Robert | Fiellin, David | Sterling, Timothy R. | Haas, David | Bebawy, Sally | Turner, Megan | Gange, Stephen J. | Anastos, Kathryn | Moore, Richard D. | Saag, Michael S. | Gange, Stephen J. | Kitahata, Mari M. | Althoff, Keri N. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Morton, Liz | McReynolds, Justin | Lober, William B. | Gange, Stephen J. | Althoff, Keri N. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
We estimated US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)–approved human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) indicators. Among patients, 71% were retained in care, 82% were prescribed treatment, and 78% had HIV RNA ≤200 copies/mL; younger adults, women, blacks, and injection drug users had poorer outcomes. Interventions are needed to reduce retention- and treatment-related disparities.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu044
PMCID: PMC3967825  PMID: 24463281
HIV; quality of care; retention in care; antiretroviral therapy; HIV RNA suppression
23.  INCREASE IN SINGLE-TABLET REGIMEN USE AND ASSOCIATED IMPROVEMENTS IN ADHERENCE-RELATED OUTCOMES IN HIV-INFECTED WOMEN 
Introduction
The use of single-tablet ART regimens and its implications on adherence among HIV-infected women have not been well-described.
Methods
Participants were enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a longitudinal study of HIV infection in U.S. women. We examined semiannual trends in single-tablet regimen use and ART adherence, defined as self-reported 95% adherence in the past 6 months, during 2006–2013. In a nested cohort study, we assessed the comparative effectiveness of a single-tablet versus a multiple-tablet regimen with respect to adherence, virologic suppression, quality of life, and AIDS-defining events, using propensity score matching to account for demographic, behavioral, and clinical confounders. We also examined these outcomes in a subset of women switching from a multiple- to single-tablet regimen, using a case-crossover design.
Results
15,523 person-visits, representing 1,727 women (53% black, 29% Hispanic, 25% IDU, median age 47), were included. Use of single-tablet regimens among ART users increased from 7% in 2006 to 27% in 2013; adherence increased from 78% to 85% during the same period (both p<0.001). Single-tablet regimen use was significantly associated with increased adherence (adjusted RR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03–1.08) and virologic suppression (RR 1.06, 95% CI 1.01–1.11), while associations with improved quality of life and fewer AIDS-defining events did not achieve statistical significance. Similar findings were observed among the subset of switchers.
Conclusion
Single-tablet regimen use was associated with increased adherence and virologic suppression. Despite this, 15% of women prescribed ART were still not optimally adherent; additional interventions are needed to maximize therapeutic benefits.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000082
PMCID: PMC3999284  PMID: 24326606
adherence; antiretroviral therapy; HIV; time factors; United States; viral load; women
24.  RYR3 gene variants in subclinical atherosclerosis among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Atherosclerosis  2014;233(2):666-672.
Background
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Ryanodine receptor 3 (RYR3) gene are associated with common carotid intima media thickness (CCA cIMT) in HIV-infected men. We evaluated SNPs in the RYR3 gene among HIV-infected women participating in Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Methods
CCA cIMT was measured using B-mode ultrasound and the 838 SNPs in the RYR3 gene region were genotyped using the Illumina HumanOmni2.5-quad beadchip. The CCA cIMT genetic association was assessed using linear regression analyses among 1213 women and also separately among White (n=139), Black (n=720) and Hispanic (n=354) women after adjusting for confounders. A summary measure of pooled association was estimated using a meta-analytic approach by combining the effect estimates from the three races. Haploblocks were inferred using Gabriel’s method and haplotype association analyses were conducted among the three races separately.
Results
SNP rs62012610 was associated with CCA cIMT among the Hispanics (p=4.41× 10−5), rs11856930 among Whites (p=5.62× 10−4), and rs2572204 among Blacks (p=2.45× 10−3). Meta-analysis revealed several associations of SNPs in the same direction and of similar magnitude, particularly among Blacks and Hispanics. Additionally, several haplotypes within three haploblocks containing SNPs previously related with CCA cIMT were also associated in Whites and Hispanics.
Discussion
Consistent with previous research among HIV-infected men, SNPs within the RYR3 region were associated with subclinical atherosclerosis among HIV-infected women. Allelic heterogeneity observed across the three races suggests that the contribution of the RYR3 gene to CCA cIMT is complex, and warrants future studies to better understand regional SNP function.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.01.035
PMCID: PMC3965606  PMID: 24561552
RYR3; single nucleotide polymorphisms; HIV infection; CCA; cIMT; subclinical atherosclerosis
25.  HIV RNA Levels in Plasma and Cervical Vaginal Lavage Fluid in Elite Controllers and HAART Recipients 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(5):739-743.
Objectives
The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) leads to control of HIV replication to <50 copies/ml, similar to levels in “elite controllers”. Low-level viral replication may be one of the contributing factors to persistent immune activation/inflammation in HAART treated individuals. There are still gaps in our knowledge whether low level replication persists in systemic versus mucosal sites.
Design and Methods
Subjects for this study were recruited from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. We evaluated 33 “elite controllers” who naturally controlled HIV replication and 33 matched HAART-suppressed recipients. This study employed a sensitive target-capture transcription-mediated-amplification assay to compare low-level virus concentrations in plasma and cervical-vaginal lavage (CVL) samples from HIV+ HAART recipients and “elite controllers”.
Results
The median (IQR) plasma viral load S/Co for “elite controllers” was 10.5 (3.9, 21.1) which was significantly (p<0.001) higher than the S/Co for HAART recipients (2.0 (1, 4.9])). The majority of CVL samples from both groups had undetectable HIV RNA and the proportion of CVL samples with a cutoff >1.0 was not different between “elite controllers” and HAART-suppressed recipients.
Conclusions
This study demonstrated persistent low-level HIV replication in “elite controllers”, suggesting potential value of HAART treatment for these individuals. Absent or very low levels of HIV RNA in CVL indicate very low risk of secondary sexual transmission for both groups.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000000150
PMCID: PMC4160049  PMID: 24326356

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