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1.  Improvement in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Postconflict Rwandan Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2011;20(9):1325-1332.
Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common in developing and postconflict countries. The purpose of this study is to examine longitudinal changes in PTSD in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women who experienced the 1994 genocide.
Five hundred thirty-five HIV-positive and 163 HIV-negative Rwandan women in an observational cohort study were followed for 18 months. Data on PTSD symptoms were collected longitudinally by the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and analyzed in relationship to demographics, HIV status, antiretroviral treatment (ART), and depression. PTSD was defined as a score on the HTQ of ≥2.
There was a continuing reduction in HTQ scores at each follow-up visit. The prevalence of PTSD symptoms changed significantly, with 61% of the cohort having PTSD at baseline vs. 24% after 18 months. Women with higher HTQ score were most likely to have improvement in PTSD symptoms (p<0.0001). Higher rate of baseline depressive symptoms (p<0.0001) was associated with less improvement in PTSD symptoms. HIV infection and ART were not found to be consistently related to PTSD improvement.
HIV care settings can become an important venue for the identification and treatment of psychiatric problems affecting women with HIV in postconflict and developing countries. Providing opportunities for women with PTSD symptoms to share their history of trauma to trained counselors and addressing depression, poverty, and ongoing violence may contribute to reducing symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3168969  PMID: 21732802
2.  Prevalence and Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression in HIV-Infected and At-Risk Rwandan Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(11):1783-1791.
During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, rape was used as a weapon of war to transmit HIV. This study measures trauma experiences of Rwandan women and identifies predictors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms.
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) is a prospective observational cohort study designed to assess effectiveness and toxicity of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected Rwandan women. In 2005, a Rwandan-adapted Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) were used to assess genocide trauma events and prevalence of PTSD (HTQ mean >2) and depressive symptoms (CES-D ≥ 16) for 850 women (658 HIV-positive and 192 HIV-negative).
PTSD was common in HIV-positive (58%) and HIV-negative women (66%) (p = 0.05). Women with HIV had a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms than HIV-negative women (81% vs. 65%, p < 0.0001). Independent predictors for increased PTSD were experiencing more genocide-related trauma events and having more depressive symptoms. Independent predictors for increased depressive symptoms were making <$18 a month, HIV infection (and, among HIV-positive women, having lower CD4 cell counts), a history of genocidal rape, and having more PTSD symptoms.
The prevalence of PTSD and depressive symptoms is high in women in the RWISA cohort. Four of five HIV-infected women had depressive symptoms, with highest rates among women with CD4 cell counts <200. In addition to treatment with antiretroviral therapy, economic empowerment and identification and treatment of depression and PTSD may reduce morbidity and mortality among women in postconflict countries.
PMCID: PMC2828188  PMID: 19951212
3.  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.
PMCID: PMC4562210  PMID: 25791344
HIV; Verbal memory; Stress; Women; Cognition
4.  An investigation of menopausal stage and symptoms on cognition in HIV-infected women 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2014;21(9):997-1006.
We evaluated the separate and interactive associations of menopausal stage, menopausal symptoms, and HIV infection on cognition. We hypothesized that HIV-infected, perimenopausal women would show the greatest cognitive difficulties and that menopausal symptoms would be inversely associated with cognition.
This cross-sectional study included 708 HIV-infected and 278 HIV-uninfected, pre-, peri-, or postmenopausal women (64% African-American; median age 44 years) from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Participants completed tests of verbal learning and memory, attention/processing speed, and executive function. We administered a menopausal symptom questionnaire that assessed anxiety, vasomotor, and sleep symptoms and obtained measures of depressive symptoms.
In multivariable regression analyses controlling for relevant covariates, HIV infection, but not menopausal stage, was associated with worse performance on all cognitive measures (p’s<0.05). Depressive symptoms were associated with lower cognitive performance on measures of verbal learning and memory, attention, and executive function (p’s<0.05); anxiety symptoms were associated with lower performance on measures of verbal learning and memory (p’s<0.05). Vasomotor symptoms were associated with worse attention (p<0.05). HIV and anxiety symptoms interacted to influence verbal learning (p’s<0.05); elevated anxiety was associated with worse verbal learning in HIV-infected women only.
Vasomotor, depressive, and anxiety symptoms, but not menopausal stage, were associated with worse cognitive performance in both HIV-infected and uninfected women, although elevated anxiety symptoms were associated with verbal learning deficits more in HIV-infected women. Since cognitive problems can interfere with everyday functioning including treatment adherence, it may be important to screen and treat anxiety in HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC4119867  PMID: 24496085
HIV; Verbal Learning; Menopause; Mood; Anxiety; African American
5.  Crack cocaine use impairs anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex function in women with HIV infection 
Journal of neurovirology  2014;20(4):352-361.
Crack cocaine use is associated with impaired verbal memory in HIV-infected women more than -uninfected women. To understand the neural basis for this impairment, this study examined the effects of crack cocaine use on activation of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and strategic encoding during a verbal memory task in HIV-infected women.
Three groups of HIV-infected women from the Chicago Consortium of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study were compared: current users of crack cocaine (n=10), former users of cocaine (n=11), and women who had never used cocaine (n=9). Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging during a verbal memory task and completed a neuropsychological test of verbal memory.
On the neuropsychological test, current crack users performed significantly worse than other groups on semantic clustering, a measure of strategic encoding, p < .05. During encoding, activation in left anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was lower in current and former cocaine users compared to never users. During recognition, activation in bilateral PFC, specifically left dorsal medial PFC and bilateral dorsolateral PFC, was lower in current and former users compared to women who had never used cocaine. Lower activation in left dorsolateral PFC was correlated with worse performance on the recognition task, p < .05.
The verbal learning and memory deficits associated with cocaine use in women with HIV may be partially accounted for by alterations in ACC and PFC function.
PMCID: PMC4090256  PMID: 24760360
HIV; crack cocaine; African American; verbal memory; fMRI; prefrontal cortex
6.  Sexual Minority Status and Violence Among HIV Infected and At-Risk Women 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2014;29(8):1131-1138.
Sexual minority women with and at-risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may face increased risks of violence.
To understand the relationship between sexual minority status and violence; and how high-risk sex and substance use mediate that relationship among women with and at-risk for HIV.
Longitudinal study of 1,235 HIV infected and 508 uninfected women of the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) cohort, from New York City, NY, Chicago, IL, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, CA, 1994–2012.
Primary exposures are sexual identity (heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian/gay) and sexual behavior (male, female, or male & female partners). Primary outcomes are sexual abuse, intimate partner violence (IPV) and physical violence; high-risk sex and substance use were examined as mediators.
Bisexual women were at increased odds for sexual abuse [aOR 1.56 (1.00, 2.44)], IPV [aOR 1.50 (1.08, 2.09)], and physical violence [aOR 1.77 (1.33, 2.37)] compared to heterosexual women. In a separate analysis, women who reported sex with men and women (WSMW) had increased odds for sexual abuse [aOR 1.65 (0.99, 2.77], IPV [aOR 1.50 (1.09, 2.06)] and physical violence [aOR 2.24 (1.69, 2.98)] compared to women having sex only with men (WSM). Using indirect effects, multiple sex partners, cocaine and marijuana were significant mediators for most forms of abuse. Transactional sex was only a mediator for bisexual women. Women who reported sex only with women (WSW) had lower odds of sexual abuse [aOR 0.23 (0.06, 0.89)] and physical violence [aOR 0.42 (0.21, 0.85)] compared to WSM.
Women who identify as bisexual or report both male and female sex partners are most vulnerable to violence; multiple recent sex partners, transactional sex and some types of substance use mediate this relationship. Acknowledging sexual identity and behavior, while addressing substance use and high-risk sex in clinical and psychosocial settings, may help reduce violence exposure among women with and at-risk for HIV.
PMCID: PMC4099466  PMID: 24700180
gay and lesbian health; IPV; sexual assault; HIV/AIDS; women’s health
7.  Smoking Cessation and Recidivism in the Women's Interagency Human Immunodeficiency Virus Study 
Smoking increases the risk of morbidity and mortality and is particularly harmful to HIV-infected people.
To explore smoking trends and longitudinal factors associated with smoking cessation and recidivism among participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
From 1994 through 2011, 2,961 HIV-infected and 981 HIV-uninfected women were enrolled and underwent semi-annual interviews and specimen collection. Smoking prevalence was evaluated annually and risk factors associated with time to smoking cessation and recidivism were analyzed in 2013 using survival models.
The annual cigarette smoking prevalence declined from 57% in 1995 to 39% in 2011 (p-trend<0.0001). Among smokers, factors significantly associated with a longer time to smoking cessation included less education, alcohol use, having health insurance, >10-year smoking duration, self-reported poor health rating, and having hypertension. Pregnancy in the past 6 months was associated with a shorter time to cessation. Among HIV-infected women, additional risk factors for longer time to cessation included lower household income, use of crack/cocaine/heroin, CD4 cell count ≤200, and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use. Predictors of smoking recidivism included marijuana use, enrollment in 1994–1996, and not living in one's own place. Among HIV-infected women, enrollment in 2001-2002 and crack/cocaine/heroin use were associated with a shorter time to recidivism, whereas older age and HAART use were associated with a longer time to recidivism.
Despite declining rates of cigarette smoking, integrated interventions are needed to help women with and at risk for HIV infection to quit smoking and sustain cessation.
PMCID: PMC4065848  PMID: 24746376
8.  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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3975680  PMID: 24313986
HIV; IL-18; KIM-1; L-FABP; NGAL; urinary biomarkers
9.  Psychosocial Correlates of Gender-Based Violence Among HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Women in Three US Cities 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2014;28(5):260-267.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is common among women with and at risk for HIV, yet little is known about the GBV associated psychological factors that could be modifiable through behavioral interventions. The current study examined the associations between some of these psychological factors (i.e., hopelessness, consideration of future consequences, self esteem), mental health symptoms, substance abuse, and GBV among a sample of 736 HIV-infected and sociodemographically similar uninfected participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Results indicated high rates of lifetime GBV among the sample (58%), as well as high rates of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) (22.2%). HIV-infected women were more likely to be hopeless and to experience lower consideration of future consequences as compared to uninfected women. Multivariable analysis indicated that current non-injection drug use and a history of injection drug use were the main correlates of GBV and CSA, even when other psychosocial variables were included in analytic models. Being born outside of the US reduced the likelihood of GBV and CSA. Future research directions and intervention implications are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4011431  PMID: 24724987
The use of single-tablet ART regimens and its implications on adherence among HIV-infected women have not been well-described.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3999284  PMID: 24326606
adherence; antiretroviral therapy; HIV; time factors; United States; viral load; women
11.  RYR3 gene variants in subclinical atherosclerosis among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Atherosclerosis  2014;233(2):666-672.
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).
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3965606  PMID: 24561552
RYR3; single nucleotide polymorphisms; HIV infection; CCA; cIMT; subclinical atherosclerosis
12.  Resilience among women with HIV: Impact of silencing the self and socioeconomic factors 
Sex roles  2014;70(5-6):221-231.
In the U.S., women account for over a quarter of the approximately 50,000 annual new HIV diagnoses and face intersecting and ubiquitous adversities including gender inequities, sexism, poverty, violence, and limited access to quality education and employment. Women are also subjected to prescribed gender roles such as silencing their needs in interpersonal relationships, which may lessen their ability to be resilient and function adaptively following adversity. Previous studies have often highlighted the struggles encountered by women with HIV without focusing on their strengths. The present cross-sectional study investigated the relationships of silencing the self and socioeconomic factors (education, employment, and income) with resilience in a sample of women with HIV. The sample consisted of 85 women with HIV, diverse ethnic/racial groups, aged 24 – 65 enrolled at the Chicago site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study in the midwestern region of the United States. Measures included the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale -10 item and the Silencing the Self Scale (STSS). Participants showed high levels of resilience. Women with lower scores on the STSS (lower self-silencing) reported significantly higher resilience compared to women with higher STSS scores. Although employment significantly related to higher resilience, silencing the self tended to predict resilience over and above the contributions of employment, income, and education. Results suggest that intervention and prevention efforts aimed at decreasing silencing the self and increasing employment opportunities may improve resilience.
PMCID: PMC4051411  PMID: 24932061
resilience; silencing the self; HIV; women; socioeconomic factors
13.  Comparison of Antibodies That Mediate HIV Type 1 gp120 Antibody-Dependent Cell-Mediated Cytotoxicity in Asymptomatic HIV Type 1-Positive Men and Women 
Recent studies suggest that HIV-specific antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) antibodies contribute to protective immunity against HIV. An important characteristic of future HIV vaccines will, therefore, be the ability to stimulate production of these antibodies in both men and women. Early studies suggest that men may have a better ADCC antibody response against HIV than women. Our objective was to determine whether men and women differ with respect to their ADCC response to HIV-1 gp120. HIV-positive, asymptomatic untreated men and women were matched for race, age, CD4+ T cell number, HIV-1 viral load, and treatment and HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibody titers were compared. A standard 51Cr-release assay was used to determine HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibody titers in HIV-1-seropositive individuals from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS; n=32) and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; n=32). Both sexes had high ADCC titers against HIV-1 gp120: 34.4% (n=11) and 40.6% (n=13) of men and women, respectively, had titers of 10,000; 62.5% (n=20) and 56.3% (n=18) had titers of 100,000. Groups did not differ in percent specific release (% SR), lytic units (LU), correlations of titer to viral load, or titer to CD4+ T cells in men or women. Both groups also had similar cross-clade ADCC antibody responses (p>0.5 for % SR and LU). Comparable groups of asymptomatic HIV-1-infected men and women had comparable HIV-1 gp120 ADCC antibodies. Both sexes had significant cross-clade reactivity. Differences between men and women may become evident as disease progresses; this should be evaluated at later stages of HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3887406  PMID: 23972002
14.  Gender Roles and Mental Health in Women With and at Risk for HIV 
Psychology of women quarterly  2014;38(3):311-326.
Predominantly low-income and African American women from the same community, HIV-infected (n = 100; HIV+) and uninfected (n = 42; HIV−), were assessed on reported gender roles in sexual and other close relationships—including levels of self-silencing, unmitigated communion, and sexual relationship power—at a single recent study visit during 2008–2012. Recent gender roles were investigated in relation to depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life assessed both at a single visit during 2008–2012 and averaged over semiannual visits (for depressive symptoms) and annual visits (for quality of life) occurring between 1994 and 2012. Compared to HIV− women, HIV+ women reported significantly higher levels of several aspects of self-silencing, unmitigated communion, and multi-year averaged depressive symptoms as well as lower levels of sexual relationship power and recent and multi-year averaged quality of life. For both HIV+ and HIV− women, higher self-silencing and unmitigated communion significantly related to recent or multi-year averaged higher depressive symptoms and lower quality of life. Intervention strategies designed to increase self-care and self-advocacy in the context of relationships could potentially minimize depressive symptoms and enhance quality of life in women with and at risk for HIV.
PMCID: PMC4258411  PMID: 25492991
sex roles; HIV; depression; quality of life; silencing the self; communion; health; empowerment
15.  Understanding the disparity: Predictors of virologic failure in women using highly active antiretroviral therapy vary by race and/or ethnicity 
Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)  2013;64(3):10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a095e9.
Stark racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes exist among those living with HIV in the United States. One of three primary goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is to reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities.
Using data from HIV-infected women participating in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study from April 2006 to March 2011, we measured virologic failure (HIV RNA >200 copies/mL) following suppression (HIV RNA <80 copies/mL) on HAART. We identified predictors of virologic failure using discrete-time survival analysis and calculated racial/ethnic-specific population attributable fractions (PAFs).
Of 887 eligible women, 408 (46%) experienced virologic failure during the study period. Hispanic and White women had significantly lower hazards of virologic failure than African-American women (Hispanic hazard ratio, HR=0.8, 95% confidence interval [0.6, 0.9]; White HR=0.7 [0.5, 0.9]). The population attributable fraction of virologic failure associated with low income was higher in Hispanic (aHR=2.2 [0.7, 6.5], PAF=49%) and African-American women (aHR=1.8 [1.1, 3.2], PAF=38%) than among White women (aHR=1.4 [0.6, 3.4], PAF=16%). Lack of health insurance compared to public health insurance was associated with virologic failure only among Hispanic (aHR=2.0 [0.9, 4.6], PAF=22%) and White women (aHR=1.9 [0.7, 5.1], PAF=13%). By contrast, depressive symptoms were associated with virologic failure only among African-American women (aHR=1.6 [1.2, 2.2], PAF=17%).
In this population of treated HIV-infected women, virologic failure was common, and correlates of virologic failure varied by race/ethnicity. Strategies to reduce disparities in HIV treatment outcomes by race/ethnicity should address racial/ethnic-specific barriers including depression and low income to sustain virologic suppression.
PMCID: PMC3816935  PMID: 23797695
disparities; race/ethnicity; virologic failure; HAART; HIV; women
16.  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
17.  Microbial Translocation and Liver Disease Progression in Women Coinfected With HIV and Hepatitis C Virus 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(4):679-689.
Background. Microbial translocation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. We sought to determine whether markers of microbial translocation are associated with liver disease progression during coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Methods. We measured serial plasma lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxin core antibody, intestinal fatty acid–binding protein (I-FABP), soluble CD14 (sCD14), interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) levels over a 5-year period in 44 HIV/HCV-coinfected women, 21 of whom experienced liver disease progression and 23 were nonprogressors.
Results. While LPS levels did not differ significantly over time between progressors and nonprogressors (P = .60), progressors had significantly higher plasma levels of sCD14, a marker of monocyte activation by LPS, at the first time point measured (P = .03) and throughout the study period (P = .001); progressors also had higher IL-6 and I-FABP levels over the 5-year study period (P = .02 and .03, respectively). The associations between progression and sCD14, I-FABP, and IL-6 levels were unchanged in models controlling for HIV RNA and CD4+ T-cell count.
Conclusions. Although LPS levels did not differ between liver disease progressors and nonprogressors, the association of sCD14, I-FABP, and IL-6 levels with liver disease progression suggests that impairment of gut epithelial integrity and consequent microbial translocation may play a role in the complex interaction of HIV and HCV pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3719907  PMID: 23687224
HIV; hepatitis C; microbial translocation; fibrosis; liver disease progression; soluble CD14
18.  Critical Consciousness, Racial and Gender Discrimination, and HIV Disease Markers in African American Women with HIV 
AIDS and behavior  2014;18(7):1237-1246.
Critical consciousness, the awareness of social oppression, is important to investigate as a buffer against HIV disease progression in HIV-infected African American women in the context of experiences with discrimination. Critical consciousness comprises several dimensions, including social group identification, discontent with distribution of social power, rejection of social system legitimacy, and a collective action orientation. The current study investigated self-reported critical consciousness as a moderator of perceived gender and racial discrimination on HIV viral load and CD4+ cell count in 67 African American HIV-infected women. Higher critical consciousness was found to be related to higher likelihood of having CD4+ counts over 350 and lower likelihood of detectable viral load when perceived racial discrimination was high, as revealed by multiple logistic regressions that controlled for highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence. Multiple linear regressions showed that at higher levels of perceived gender and racial discrimination, women endorsing high critical consciousness had a larger positive difference between nadir CD4+ (lowest pre-HAART) and current CD4+ count than women endorsing low critical consciousness. These findings suggest that raising awareness of social oppression to promote joining with others to enact social change may be an important intervention strategy to improve HIV outcomes in African American HIV-infected women who report experiencing high levels of gender and racial discrimination.
PMCID: PMC4010552  PMID: 24077930
Critical consciousness; HIV; African American women; Protective factor; Perceived racial discrimination; Perceived gender discrimination
19.  Alcohol consumption trajectory patterns in adult women with HIV infection 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(5):1705-1712.
HIV-infected women with excessive alcohol consumption are at risk for adverse health outcomes, but little is known about their long-term drinking trajectories. This analysis included longitudinal data, obtained from 1996–2006, from 2791 women with HIV from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Among these women, the proportion in each of five distinct drinking trajectories was: continued heavy drinking (3%), reduction from heavy to non-heavy drinking (4%), increase from non-heavy to heavy drinking (8%), continued non-heavy drinking (36%), and continued non-drinking (49%). Depressive symptoms, other substance use (crack/cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco), co-infection with HCV, and heavy drinking prior to enrollment were associated with trajectories involving future heavy drinking. In conclusion, many women with HIV change their drinking patterns over time. Clinicians and those providing alcohol-related interventions might target those with depression, current use of tobacco or illicit drugs, HCV infection, or a previous history of drinking problems.
PMCID: PMC3534826  PMID: 22836592
Alcohol consumption; women; HIV-infection; trajectories
20.  Do HIV-Positive Women Receive Depression Treatment that Meets Best Practice Guidelines? 
AIDS and behavior  2014;18(6):1094-1102.
This study addressed whether psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment of depressed HIV+ women met standards defined in the best practice literature, and tested hypothesized predictors of standard-concordant care. 1,352 HIV-positive women in the multi-center Women’s Interagency HIV Study were queried about depressive symptoms and mental health service utilization using standards published by the American Psychiatric Association and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research to define adequate depression treatment. We identified those who: 1) reported clinically significant depressive symptoms (CSDS) using Centers for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale (CES-D) scores of ≥ 16; or 2) had lifetime diagnoses of major depressive disorder (MDD) assessed by World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interviews plus concurrent elevated depressive symptoms in the past 12 months. Adequate treatment prevalence was 46.2% (n=84) for MDD and 37.9% (n=211) for CSDS. Multivariable logistic regression analysis found that adequate treatment was more likely among women who saw the same primary care provider consistently, who had poorer role functioning, who paid out-of-pocket for healthcare, and who were not African American or Hispanic/Latina. This suggests that adequate depression treatment may be increased by promoting healthcare provider continuity, outreaching individuals with lower levels of role impairment, and addressing the specific needs and concerns of African American and Hispanic/Latina women.
PMCID: PMC4020946  PMID: 24402689
Women and HIV; Depression Treatment; Psychopharmacology; Psychotherapy
21.  Illicit Drug Use, Depression and their Association with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-Positive Women 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;89(1):74-81.
We examined the interaction of illicit drug use and depressive symptoms, and how they affect the subsequent likelihood of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use among women with HIV/AIDS.
Subjects included 1,710 HIV-positive women recruited from six sites in the U.S. including Brooklyn, Bronx, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco/Bay Area, and Washington, DC. Cases of probable depression were identified using depressive symptom scores on the Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Crack, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine use were self-reported at 6-month time intervals. We conducted multivariate logistic random regression analysis of data collected during sixteen waves of semiannual interviews conducted from April 1996 through March 2004.
We found an interaction effect between illicit drug use and depression that acted to suppress subsequent HAART use, controlling for virologic and immunologic indicators, socio-demographic variables, time, and study site.
This is the first study to document the interactive effects of drug use and depressive symptoms on reduced likelihood of HAART use in a national cohort of women. Since evidence-based behavioral health and antiretroviral therapies for each of these three conditions are now available, comprehensive HIV treatment is an achievable public health goal.
PMCID: PMC4009351  PMID: 17291696
HIV; depression; HAART; drug use
22.  HIV and Recent Illicit Drug Use Interact to Affect Verbal Memory in Women 
HIV infection and illicit drug use are each associated with diminished cognitive performance. This study examined the separate and interactive effects of HIV and recent illicit drug use on verbal memory, processing speed and executive function in the multicenter Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Participants included 952 HIV-infected and 443 HIV-uninfected women (mean age=42.8, 64% African-American). Outcome measures included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test - Revised (HVLT-R) and the Stroop test. Three drug use groups were compared: recent illicit drug users (cocaine or heroin use in past 6 months, n=140), former users (lifetime cocaine or heroin use but not in past 6 months, n=651), and non-users (no lifetime use of cocaine or heroin, n=604).
The typical pattern of recent drug use was daily or weekly smoking of crack cocaine. HIV infection and recent illicit drug use were each associated with worse verbal learning and memory (p's<.05). Importantly, there was an interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use such that recent illicit drug use (compared to non-use) negatively impacted verbal learning and memory only in HIV-infected women (p's <0.01). There was no interaction between HIV serostatus and illicit drug use on processing speed or executive function on the Stroop test.
The interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use on verbal learning and memory suggests a potential synergistic neurotoxicity that may affect the neural circuitry underlying performance on these tasks.
PMCID: PMC3628722  PMID: 23392462
23.  Antiretroviral-Treated HIV-Infected Women Have Similar Long-Term Kidney Function Trajectories as HIV-Uninfected Women 
Natural history studies suggest increased risk for kidney function decline with HIV infection, but few studies have made comparisons with HIV-uninfected women. We examined whether HIV infection treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) remains associated with faster kidney function decline in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. HIV-infected women initiating HAART with (n=105) or without (n=373) tenofovir (TDF) were matched to HIV-uninfected women on calendar and length of follow-up, age, systolic blood pressure, hepatitis C antibody serostatus, and diabetes history. Linear mixed models were used to evaluate differences in annual estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Person-visits were 4,741 and 11,512 for the TDF-treated and non-TDF-treated analyses, respectively. Mean baseline eGFRs were higher among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART and lower among those on TDF-sparing HAART compared to their respective HIV-uninfected matches (p<0.05 for both). HIV-infected women had annual rates of eGFR changes similar to HIV-uninfected matches (p-interaction >0.05 for both). Adjusting for baseline eGFR, mean eGFRs at 1 and 3 years of follow-up among women initiated on TDF-containing HAART were lower than their uninfected matches (−4.98 and −4.26 ml/min/1.73 m2, respectively; p<0.05 for both). Mean eGFR of women initiated on TDF-sparing HAART was lower versus uninfected matches at 5 years (–2.19 ml/min/1.73 m2, p=0.03). HAART-treated HIV-infected women had lower mean eGFRs at follow-up but experienced rates of annual eGFR decline similar to HIV-uninfected women. Tenofovir use in HIV-infected women with normal kidney function did not accelerate long-term kidney function decline relative to HIV-uninfected women.
PMCID: PMC3636577  PMID: 23273313
24.  Host APOL1 genotype is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection 
Kidney international  2013;84(4):834-840.
Proteinuria is associated with adverse clinical outcomes in HIV infection. Here we evaluated whether APOL1 risk alleles, previously associated with advanced kidney disease, is independently associated with proteinuria in HIV infection in a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. We estimated the percent difference in urine protein excretion and odds of proteinuria (200 mg/g and higher) associated with two versus one or no APOL1 risk allele using linear and logistic regression, respectively. Of 1285 women successfully genotyped, 379 carried one and 80 carried two risk alleles. Proteinuria was present in 124 women; 78 of whom had proteinuria confirmed on a second sample. In women without prior AIDS, two risk alleles were independently associated with a 69% higher urine protein excretion (95% CI: 36%, 108%) and 5-fold higher odds of proteinuria (95% CI: 2.45, 10.37) versus one or no risk allele. No association was found in women with prior AIDS. Analyses in which women with impaired kidney function were excluded and proteinuria was confirmed by a second urine sample yielded similar estimates. Thus, APOL1 risk alleles are associated with significant proteinuria in HIV-infected persons without prior clinical AIDS, independent of clinical factors traditionally associated with proteinuria. Trials are needed to determine whether APOL1 genotyping identifies individuals who could benefit from earlier intervention to prevent overt renal disease.
PMCID: PMC3788838  PMID: 23715117
25.  Does HIV infection promote early kidney injury in women? 
Antiviral therapy  2013;19(1):79-87.
In HIV-infected women, urine concentrations of novel tubulointerstitial injury markers, interleukin-18 (IL-18) and kidney injury marker-1 (KIM-1) are associated with kidney function decline and all-cause mortality. We hypothesized that HIV-infected individuals with preserved kidney filtration function would have more extensive kidney injury, as determined by urine injury markers, compared to the uninfected controls, and that risk factors for tubulointerstitial injury would differ from risk factors for albuminuria.
In this cross-sectional study, we compared urine concentrations of IL-18, KIM-1, and ACR in 908 HIV-infected and 289 HIV-uninfected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, utilizing stored urine specimens from visits between 1999 and 2000.
After multivariate-adjusted linear regression analysis, mean urine concentrations were higher in HIV-infected individuals by 38% for IL-18 (p<0.0001), 12% for KIM-1 (p=0.081), and 47% for ACR (p<0.0001). Higher HIV RNA level (15% per 10-fold increase, p<0.0001), lower CD4 count (8% per doubling, p=0.0025), HCV infection (30%, p=0.00018), and lower HDL (5% per 10 mg/dL, p=0.0024) were each associated with higher IL-18 concentrations. In contrast, hypertension (81%, p<0.0001) and diabetes (47%, p=0.018) were among the strongest predictors of higher ACR, though HIV RNA level (15% per 10-fold increase, p=0.0004) was also associated with higher ACR.
HIV-infected women had more extensive tubulointerstitial and glomerular injury than uninfected women, but the associated factors differed among the urine biomarkers. Combinations of urinary biomarkers should be investigated to further characterize early kidney injury in HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC3933452  PMID: 23970313

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