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1.  HIV-associated disruption of mucosal epithelium facilitates paracellular penetration by human papillomavirus 
Virology  2013;446(0):10.1016/j.virol.2013.08.018.
The incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated epithelial lesions is substantially higher in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals than in HIV-uninfected individuals. The molecular mechanisms underlying the increased risk of HPV infection in HIV-infected individuals are poorly understood. We found that HIV proteins tat and gp120 were expressed within the oral and anal mucosal epithelial microenvironment of HIV-infected individuals. Expression of HIV proteins in the mucosal epithelium was correlated with the disruption of epithelial tight junctions (TJ). Treatment of polarized oral and anal epithelial cells and tissue explants with tat and gp120 led to disruption of epithelial TJ and increased HPV pseudovirion (PsV) paracellular penetration into the epithelium. PsV entry was observed in the basal/parabasal cells, the cells in which the HPV life cycle is initiated. Our data suggest that HIV-associated TJ disruption of mucosal epithelia may potentiate HPV infection and subsequent development of HPV-associated neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC3809142  PMID: 24074602
2.  Programmed death-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in treated and untreated HIV disease 
AIDS (London, England)  2014;28(12):1749-1758.
There is intense interest in the role of programmed death 1 (PD-1) in causing persistent T-cell dysfunction in HIV infection. However, the impact of HIV infection and antiretroviral treatment (ART) on the expression of PD-1 on T cells is still poorly defined.
PD-1 was measured longitudinally in a cohort of recently HIV-infected individuals (n = 121) who started ART early (<6 months after infection) vs. later (≥2 years after infection). PD-1 was also measured cross-sectionally in a diverse cohort of chronically HIV-infected adults (n = 206).
PD-1 expression levels were high on CD8+ T cells during early HIV infection. PD-1 levels increased on both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells populations in those who delayed therapy (11 and 10%/year, respectively). PD-1 levels declined and were similar in those treated early vs. late after 1 year of ART. In both cohorts, PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells was associated with CD4+ T-cell activation (CD38+HLA-DR+) and inversely with CD4+ cell count. In contrast, PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells was most strongly associated with CD8+ T-cell activation and with plasma viral load in viremic individuals.
Across two large cohorts of untreated and treated individuals, we found consistent associations between HIV RNA levels, CD8+ T-cell activation and PD-1 expression on CD8+ T cells. In contrast, CD4+ T-cell counts and CD4+ T-cell activation were more consistent correlates of PD-1 expression on CD4+ T cells. PD-1 expression appears to be driven by both direct antigen and homeostatic pathways.
PMCID: PMC4206412  PMID: 24871455
CD4+ lymphocyte count; early antiretroviral therapy; HIV antiretroviral therapy; HIV-1/immunology/*physiology; humans; programmed death-1; T-cell activation; T lymphocytes/immunology/*physiology; virus replication/physiology
3.  Antiretroviral Therapy Initiated Within 6 Months of HIV Infection Is Associated With Lower T-Cell Activation and Smaller HIV Reservoir Size 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1202-1211.
Background. CD4+/CD8+ T-cell activation levels often remain elevated in chronic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection despite initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). T-cell activation predicts early death and blunted CD4+ T-cell recovery during ART and may affect persistent HIV reservoir size. We investigated whether very early ART initiation is associated with lower on-therapy immune activation and HIV persistence.
Methods. From a cohort of patients with early HIV infection (<6 months duration since infection) we identified persons who started ART early (<6 months after infection) or later (≥2 years after infection) and maintained ≥2 years of virologic suppression; at-risk HIV-negative persons were controls. We measured CD4+/CD8+ T-cell activation (percent CD38+/HLA-DR+) and HIV reservoir size (based on HIV DNA and cell-associated RNA levels).
Results. In unadjusted analyses, early ART predicted lower on-therapy CD8+ T-cell activation (n = 34; mean, 22.1%) than achieved with later ART (n = 32; mean, 28.8%; P = .009), although levels in early ART remained elevated relative to HIV-negative controls (P = .02). Early ART also predicted lower CD4+ T-cell activation than with later ART (5.3% vs 7.5%; P = .06). Early ART predicted 4.8-fold lower DNA levels than achieved with later ART (P = .005), and lower cell-associated RNA levels (difference in signal-to-cutoff ratio (S/Co), 3.2; P = .035).
Conclusions. ART initiation <6 months after infection is associated with lower levels of T-cell activation and smaller HIV DNA and RNA reservoir size during long-term therapy.
PMCID: PMC3778965  PMID: 23852127
HIV antiretroviral therapy; early ART; T-cell activation; inflammation; HIVreservoir; HIV eradication; HIV cure
4.  Direct visualization of HIV-enhancing endogenous amyloid fibrils in human semen 
Nature communications  2014;5:3508.
Naturally occurring fragments of the abundant semen proteins prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) and semenogelins form amyloid fibrils in vitro. These fibrils boost HIV infection and may play a key role in the spread of the AIDS pandemic. However, the presence of amyloid fibrils in semen remained to be demonstrated. Here, we use state of the art confocal and electron microscopy techniques for direct imaging of amyloid fibrils in human ejaculates. We detect amyloid aggregates in all semen samples and find that they partially consist of PAP fragments, interact with HIV particles and increase viral infectivity. Our results establish semen as a body fluid that naturally contains amyloid fibrils that are exploited by HIV to promote its sexual transmission.
PMCID: PMC4129123  PMID: 24691351
5.  “Taking a Half Day at a Time:” Patient Perspectives and the HIV Engagement in Care Continuum 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2013;27(4):223-230.
The HIV treatment continuum, or “cascade,” outlines key benchmarks in the successful treatment of HIV-infected individuals. However, the cascade fails to capture important dimensions of the patient experience in that it has been constructed from a provider point of view. In order to understand meaningful steps in the HIV care cascade for individuals diagnosed with HIV through expanded, more routine testing, we conducted in-depth interviews (n=34) with three groups of individuals: those diagnosed with HIV in the emergency department/urgent care clinic who linked to HIV care and exhibited 100% appointment adherence in the first 6 months of HIV care; those diagnosed in the emergency department/urgent care clinic who linked to HIV care and exhibited sporadic appointment adherence in the first 6 months of HIV care, and; hospitalized patients with no outpatient HIV care for at least 6 months. This last group was chosen to supplement data from in-care patients. The engagement in care process was defined by a changing perspective on HIV, one's HIV identity, and the role of health care. The linkage to care experience laid the groundwork for subsequent retention. Interventions to support engagement in care should acknowledge that patient concerns change over time and focus on promoting shifts in perspective.
PMCID: PMC3661033  PMID: 23565926
6.  Leveraging A Rapid, Round-the-Clock HIV Testing System to Screen for Acute HIV Infection in a Large Urban Public Medical Center 
To describe the prevalence and location of new and acute HIV diagnoses in a large urban medical center. Secondary objectives were to evaluate rapid HIV test performance, the added yield of acute HIV screening, and linkage to care outcomes.
Cross-sectional study from November 1, 2008, to April 30, 2009.
The hospital laboratory performed round-the-clock rapid HIV antibody testing on venipuncture specimens from patients undergoing HIV testing in hospital and community clinics, inpatient settings, and the emergency department. For patients with negative results, a public health laboratory conducted pooled HIV RNA testing for acute HIV infection. The laboratories communicated positive results from the hospital campus to a linkage team. Linkage was defined as one outpatient HIV-related visit.
Among 7,927 patients, 8,550 rapid tests resulted in 137 cases of HIV infection (1.7%, 95% CI 1.5%–2.0%), of whom 46 were new HIV diagnoses (0.58%, 95% CI 0.43%–0.77%). Pooled HIV RNA testing of 6,704 specimens (78.4%) resulted in 3 cases of acute HIV infection (0.05%, 95% CI 0.01%–0.14) and increased HIV case detection by 3.5%. Half of new HIV diagnoses and 2/3 of acute infections were detected in the emergency department and urgent care clinic. Rapid test sensitivity was 98.9% (95% CI 93.8%– 99.8%); specificity was 99.9% (95% CI 99.7%–99.9%). Over 95% of newly diagnosed and out-of-care HIV-infected patients were linked to care.
Patients undergoing HIV testing in emergency departments and urgent care clinics may benefit from being simultaneously screened for acute HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3548997  PMID: 23117503
HIV serodiagnosis; HIV rapid tests; acute HIV infection; HIV testing in medical settings
7.  Trans-activation, post-transcriptional maturation, and induction of antibodies to HERV-K (HML-2) envelope transmembrane protein in HIV-1 infection 
Retrovirology  2014;11:10.
Human Endogenous Retroviruses (HERVs) comprise about 8% of the human genome and have lost their ability to replicate or to produce infectious particles after having accumulated mutations over time. We assessed the kinetics of expression of HERV-K (HML-2) Envelope mRNA transcript and surface unit (SU) and transmembrane (TM) subunit proteins during HIV-1 infection. We also mapped the specificity of the humoral response to HERV-K (HML-2) Envelope protein in HIV-1 infected subjects at different stages of disease, and correlated the response with plasma viral load.
We found that HIV-1 modified HERV-K (HML-2) Env mRNA expression, resulting in the expression of a fully N-glycosylated HERV-K (HML-2) envelope protein on the cell surface. Serological mapping of HERV-K (HML-2) envelope protein linear epitopes revealed two major immunogenic domains, one on SU and another on the ectodomain of TM. The titers of HERV-K (HML-2) TM antibodies were dramatically increased in HIV-1 infected subjects (p < 0.0001). HIV-1 infected adults who control HIV-1 in the absence of therapy (“elite” controllers) had a higher titer response against TM compared to antiretroviral-treated adults (p < 0.0001) and uninfected adults (p < 0.0001).
These data collectively suggest that HIV-1 infection induces fully glycosylated HERV-K (HML-2) envelope TM protein to which antibodies are induced. These anti-HERV-K (HML-2) TM antibodies are a potential marker of HIV-1 infection, and are at higher titer in elite controllers. HERV-K (HML-2) envelope TM protein may be a new therapeutic target in HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3907665  PMID: 24472118
HIV; Antibody; HERV; Endogenous retroviruses; Transmembrane; Envelope; Elite controllers; Alternative transcripts
8.  Performance of Rapid Point-of-Care and Laboratory Tests for Acute and Established HIV Infection in San Francisco 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80629.
Current laboratory and point-of-care tests for HIV detect different analytes and use different sample types. Some have fast turnaround times (<1 hour). We investigated how HIV test choice could impact case finding by testing programs.
We analyzed 21,234 consecutive HIV tests with venous blood obtained by San Francisco HIV testing programs from 2003 to 2008. For a subset, oral fluid (n = 6446) or fingerstick blood (n = 8127) samples were also obtained for rapid testing. In all cases, HIV status was determined using an HIV antibody-plus-RNA test algorithm. We assessed how the screening antibody tests performed individually versus the gold standard of the full algorithm. We then evaluated the potential ability of other tests (including new tests) to detect more cases, by re-testing all specimens that had negative/discrepant antibody results on initial screening.
The antibody-RNA algorithm identified 58 acute and 703 established HIV infection cases. 1st-generation (Vironostika) and 3rd-generation (Genetic Systems) immunoassays had 92 and 96 percent sensitivity, respectively. The Oraquick rapid test had clinical sensitivity of only 86 percent on oral fluid samples, but 92 percent on finger-stick blood. Newer 4th-generation, antigen-antibody combo rapid immunoassay (ARCHITECT) detected HIV in 87 percent of all the acute cases that had been missed by one of the previous screening assays. A point-of-care 4th generation antigen-antibody combo rapid test (Determine) detected about 54 percent of such acute cases.
Our study suggests that some rapid antibody blood tests will give similar case detection to laboratory antibody tests, but that oral fluid testing greatly reduces ability to detect HIV. New 4th-generation combo tests can detect the majority of acute infections detectable by HIV RNA but with rapid results. Using these tests as a primary screening assay in high-risk HIV testing programs could reduce or eliminate the need for HIV RNA testing.
PMCID: PMC3861178  PMID: 24349007
9.  Activation Associated ERK1/2 Signaling Impairments in CD8+ T Cells Co-Localize with Blunted Polyclonal and HIV-1 Specific Effector Functions in Early Untreated HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77412.
We recently observed that a large proportion of activated (CD38+HLA-DR+) CD8+ T cells from recently HIV-1-infected adults are refractory to phosphorylation of ERK1/2 kinases (p-ERK1/2-refractory). Given that the ERK1/2 pathway mediates intracellular signaling critical for multiple T cell functions, including key effector functions, the loss of ERK1/2 responsiveness may have broad consequences for CD8+ T cell function. In the current study, we hypothesized that the p-ERK1/2-refractory population, localized largely within the activated CD38+HLA-DR+ CD8+ T cell population, would display impairments in CD8+ T cell effector functions, such as cytokine production and degranulation, compared to CD8+ p-ERK1/2-responsive cells. We further hypothesized that the p-ERK1/2-refractory phenotype is persistent over time during untreated infection, and would correlate with poorer virologic control, in a manner independent of CD8+ T cell activation level. We performed single-cell resolution, flow cytometric assays of phospho-kinase responses paired to intracellular cytokine staining in one assay to examine IFN-γ, perforin and CD107α responses in CD8+ T cells by ERK1/2 signaling profile. On a per cell basis, p-ERK1/2-refractory cells, which fall predominantly within the activated CD8+ T cell compartment, produced less IFN-γ in response to polyclonal or HIV-1 antigen-specific stimulation, and expressed lower levels of perforin and CD107α. The p-ERK1/2 refractory cell population displayed minimal overlap with the PD-1 and Tim-3 inhibitory exhaustion markers and predicted high viral load independent of activation, suggesting that ERK1/2 may be a unique marker and point of intervention for improving CD8+ T cell function. Blunted effector functions, secondary to ERK1/2 signaling deficits concentrated within activated CD8+ T cells, may contribute to immunodeficiency and underlie the predictive capacity of CD8+ T cell activation on HIV-1 disease progression. (270/300).
PMCID: PMC3797111  PMID: 24143233
10.  Patient Perspectives on the Experience of Being Newly Diagnosed with HIV in the Emergency Department/Urgent Care Clinic of a Public Hospital 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e74199.
We sought to understand patient perceptions of the emergency department/urgent care (ED/UC) HIV diagnosis experience as well as factors that may promote or discourage linkage to HIV care. We conducted in-depth interviews with patients (n=24) whose HIV infection was diagnosed in the ED/UC of a public hospital in San Francisco at least six months prior and who linked to HIV care at the hospital HIV clinic. Key diagnosis experience themes included physical discomfort and limited functionality, presence of comorbid diagnoses, a wide spectrum of HIV risk perception, and feelings of isolation and anxiety. Patients diagnosed with HIV in the ED/UC may not have their desired emotional supports with them, either because they are alone or they are with family members or friends to whom they do not want to immediately disclose. Other patients may have no one they can rely on for immediate support. Nearly all participants described compassionate disclosure of test results by ED/UC providers, although several noted logistical issues that complicated the disclosure experience. Key linkage to care themes included the importance of continuity between the testing site and HIV care, hospital admission as an opportunity for support and HIV education, and thoughtful matching by linkage staff to a primary care provider. ED/UC clinicians and testing programs should be sensitive to the unique roles of sickness, risk perception, and isolation in the ED/UC diagnosis experience, as these things may delay acceptance of HIV diagnosis. The disclosure and linkage to care experience is crucial in forming patient attitudes towards HIV and HIV care, thus staff involved in disclosure and linkage activities should be trained to deliver compassionate, informed, and thoughtful care that bridges HIV testing and treatment sites.
PMCID: PMC3753265  PMID: 23991214
11.  Acute HIV revisited: new opportunities for treatment and prevention 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2004;113(7):937-945.
Inability to recognize incident infection has traditionally limited both scientific and public health approaches to HIV disease. Recently, some laboratories have begun adding HIV nucleic acid amplification testing to HIV diagnostic testing algorithms so that acute (antibody-negative) HIV infections can be routinely detected within the first 1–3 weeks of exposure. In this review article, we will highlight critical opportunities for HIV treatment and prevention that are presented by these diagnostic strategies.
PMCID: PMC379335  PMID: 15057296
12.  T Cells Target APOBEC3 Proteins in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Humans and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Indian Rhesus Macaques 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(11):6073-6080.
APOBEC3 proteins mediate potent antiretroviral activity by hypermutating the retroviral genome during reverse transcription. To counteract APOBEC3 and gain a replicative advantage, lentiviruses such as human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have evolved the Vif protein, which targets APOBEC3 proteins for proteasomal degradation. However, the proteasome plays a critical role in the generation of T cell peptide epitopes. Whether Vif-mediated destruction of APOBEC3 proteins leads to the generation and presentation of APOBEC3-derived T cell epitopes on the surfaces of lentivirus-infected cells remains unknown. Here, using peptides derived from multiple Vif-sensitive APOBEC3 proteins, we identified APOBEC3-specific T cell responses in both HIV-1-infected patients and SIV-infected rhesus macaques. These results raise the possibility that these T cell responses may be part of the larger antiretroviral immune response.
PMCID: PMC3648095  PMID: 23536679
13.  Changes in Seroadaptive Practices from before to after Diagnosis of Recent HIV Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55397.
We assessed changes in sexual behavior among men who have sex with men (MSM), before and for several years after HIV diagnosis, accounting for adoption of a variety of seroadaptive practices.
We collected self-reported sexual behavior data every 3 months from HIV-positive MSM at various stages of HIV infection. To establish population level trends in sexual behavior, we used negative binomial regression to model the relationship between time since diagnosis and several sexual behavior variables: numbers of (a) total partners, (b) potentially discordant partners (PDP; i.e., HIV-negative or unknown-status partners), (c) PDPs with whom unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) occurred, and (d) PDPs with whom unprotected insertive anal intercourse (uIAI) occurred.
A total of 237 HIV-positive MSM contributed 502 interviews. UAI with PDPs occurred with a mean of 4.2 partners in the 3 months before diagnosis. This declined to 0.9 partners/3 months at 12 months after diagnosis, and subsequently rose to 1.7 partners/3 months at 48 months, before falling again to 1.0 partners/3 months at 60 months. The number of PDPs with whom uIAI occurred dropped from 2.4 in the pre-diagnosis period to 0.3 partners/3 months (an 87.5% reduction) by 12 months after enrollment, and continued to decline over time.
Within months after being diagnosed with HIV, MSM adopted seroadaptive practices, especially seropositioning, where the HIV-positive partner was not in the insertive position during UAI, resulting in a sustained decline in the sexual activity associated with the highest risk of HIV transmission.
PMCID: PMC3566177  PMID: 23405145
14.  Seroadaptive Practices: Association with HIV Acquisition among HIV-Negative Men Who Have Sex with Men 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e45718.
Although efficacy is unknown, many men who have sex with men (MSM) attempt to reduce HIV risk by adapting condom use, partner selection, or sexual position to the partner’s HIV serostatus. We assessed the association of seroadaptive practices with HIV acquisition.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We pooled data on North American MSM from four longitudinal HIV-prevention studies. Sexual behaviors reported during each six-month interval were assigned sequentially to one of six mutually exclusive risk categories: (1) no unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), (2) having a single negative partner, (3) being an exclusive top (only insertive anal sex), (4) serosorting (multiple partners, all HIV negative), (5) seropositioning (only insertive anal sex with potentially discordant partners), and (6) UAI with no seroadaptive practices. HIV antibody testing was conducted at the end of each interval. We used Cox models to evaluate the independent association of each category with HIV acquisition, controlling for number of partners, age, race, drug use, and intervention assignment. 12,277 participants contributed to 60,162 six-month intervals with 663 HIV seroconversions. No UAI was reported in 47.4% of intervals, UAI with some seroadaptive practices in 31.8%, and UAI with no seroadaptive practices in 20.4%. All seroadaptive practices were associated with a lower risk, compared to UAI with no seroadaptive practices. However, compared to no UAI, serosorting carried twice the risk (HR = 2.03, 95%CI:1.51–2.73), whereas seropositioning was similar in risk (HR = 0.85, 95%CI:0.50–1.44), and UAI with a single negative partner and as an exclusive top were both associated with a lower risk (HR = 0.56, 95%CI:0.32–0.96 and HR = 0.55, 95%CI:0.36–0.84, respectively).
Seroadaptive practices appear protective when compared with UAI with no seroadaptive practices, but serosorting appears to be twice as risky as no UAI. Condom use and limiting number of partners should be advocated as first-line prevention strategies, but seroadaptive practices may be considered harm-reduction for men at greatest risk.
PMCID: PMC3463589  PMID: 23056215
15.  Identifying the Early Post-HIV Antibody Seroconversion Period 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(4):526-533.
Background. Identifying persons with recent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody seroconversion is useful for treatment, research, and prevention, but the sensitivity and specificity of tests for this purpose are uncertain.
Methods. We used longitudinal specimens panels from 155 persons identified prior to HIV seroconversion to assess antibody-based methods for classifying persons as within 30, 60, or 90 days of seroconversion, including 2 incidence assays, a less-sensitive (LS) enzyme immunoassay (EIA), and the BED assay.
Results. Sensitivity and specificity, respectively, for identifying persons within 30 days of seroconversion were: 34%–57% and 98%–100% for 2 standard EIAs (employing a signal-to-cutoff ≤4.0; ≥1.0 defines HIV positive), 84% and 73% for the LS-EIA (≤0.2 cutoff), 88% and 72% for the BED (≤0.2 cutoff), and 43%–58% and 98% (≤3 bands) for 2 Western blot (WB) assays. By area under the receiver operator curves, the best test for identifying persons within 30 days of seroconversion was the number of bands on the Bio-Rad WB (0.90); within 60 days, the LS-EIA and BED (both 0.85); and for persons within 90 days the BED (0.86).
Conclusions. Standard EIAs, Western blots, and HIV incidence assays provide useful information for identifying persons 30 to 90 days after seroconversion.
PMCID: PMC3144168  PMID: 21791654
16.  Sexual Partnership Patterns in Malawi: Implications for HIV/STI Transmission 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2011;38(7):657-666.
Concurrent sexual partnerships are believed to play an important role in HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, but the contributions of concurrency to HIV and STI spread depend on the details of infectious periods and relationship patterns. To contribute to the understanding of sexual partnership patterns in this region, we estimated partnership lengths, temporal gaps between partners, and periods of overlap across partners at an STI clinic in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Participants underwent physical examinations and HIV tests, and responded to questionnaires about demographics and risk behaviors, including detailed questions about a maximum of 3 sexual partners in the previous 2 months. We calculated partnership length as the time between the first and most recent sexual contact with a partner, and gap length as the time between the most recent contact with one partner and the first contact with the next. We defined concurrent and consecutive partnerships as gap length≤0 days and gap length>0 days, respectively.
The study population (n=183) had a mean partnership length of 858 days (median=176 days). Eighty-six percent reported 0 or 1 partner, 5% reported multiple consecutive partnerships, and 9% reported concurrency. Gaps between consecutive partnerships were short (mean=21 days), and overlaps across concurrent partners tended to be long (mean=246 days).
Multiple sexual partnerships were uncommon, and partnerships were long on average. Among those reporting multiple recent partners, both long-term concurrency and narrowly spaced consecutive partnerships could present substantial risk for efficient transmission of HIV and classical STIs.
PMCID: PMC3125407  PMID: 21301383
Transmission; concurrency; partnership length; gap length; overlap
17.  Influence of HAART on Alternative Reading Frame Immune Responses over the Course of HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39311.
Translational errors can result in bypassing of the main viral protein reading frames and the production of alternate reading frame (ARF) or cryptic peptides. Within HIV, there are many such ARFs in both sense and the antisense directions of transcription. These ARFs have the potential to generate immunogenic peptides called cryptic epitopes (CE). Both antiretroviral drug therapy and the immune system exert a mutational pressure on HIV-1. Immune pressure exerted by ARF CD8+ T cells on the virus has already been observed in vitro. HAART has also been described to select HIV-1 variants for drug escape mutations. Since the mutational pressure exerted on one location of the HIV-1 genome can potentially affect the 3 reading frames, we hypothesized that ARF responses would be affected by this drug pressure in vivo.
Methodology/Principal findings
In this study we identified new ARFs derived from sense and antisense transcription of HIV-1. Many of these ARFs are detectable in circulating viral proteins. They are predominantly found in the HIV-1 env nucleotide region. We measured T cell responses to 199 HIV-1 CE encoded within 13 sense and 34 antisense HIV-1 ARFs. We were able to observe that these ARF responses are more frequent and of greater magnitude in chronically infected individuals compared to acutely infected patients, and in patients on HAART, the breadth of ARF responses increased.
These results have implications for vaccine design and unveil the existence of potential new epitopes that could be included as vaccine targets.
PMCID: PMC3387156  PMID: 22768072
18.  Differential Persistence of Transmitted HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutation Classes 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;203(8):1174-1181.
Background. Transmitted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance (TDR) mutations can become replaced over time by emerging wild-type viral variants with improved fitness. The impact of class-specific mutations on this rate of mutation replacement is uncertain.
Methods. We studied participants with acute and/or early HIV infection and TDR in 2 cohorts (San Francisco, California, and São Paulo, Brazil). We followed baseline mutations longitudinally and compared replacement rates between mutation classes with use of a parametric proportional hazards model.
Results. Among 75 individuals with 195 TDR mutations, M184V/I became undetectable markedly faster than did nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) mutations (hazard ratio, 77.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 14.7–408.2; P < .0001), while protease inhibitor and NNRTI replacement rates were similar. Higher plasma HIV-1 RNA level predicted faster mutation replacement, but this was not statistically significant (hazard ratio, 1.71 log10 copies/mL; 95% CI, .90–3.25 log10 copies/mL; P = .11). We found substantial person-to-person variability in mutation replacement rates not accounted for by viral load or mutation class (P < .0001).
Conclusions. The rapid replacement of M184V/I mutations is consistent with known fitness costs. The long-term persistence of NNRTI and protease inhibitor mutations suggests a risk for person-to-person propagation. Host and/or viral factors not accounted for by viral load or mutation class are likely influencing mutation replacement and warrant further study.
PMCID: PMC3107558  PMID: 21451005
19.  Adjusting for sampling variability in sparse data: geostatistical approaches to disease mapping 
Disease maps of crude rates from routinely collected health data indexed at a small geographical resolution pose specific statistical problems due to the sparse nature of the data. Spatial smoothers allow areas to borrow strength from neighboring regions to produce a more stable estimate of the areal value. Geostatistical smoothers are able to quantify the uncertainty in smoothed rate estimates without a high computational burden. In this paper, we introduce a uniform model extension of Bayesian Maximum Entropy (UMBME) and compare its performance to that of Poisson kriging in measures of smoothing strength and estimation accuracy as applied to simulated data and the real data example of HIV infection in North Carolina. The aim is to produce more reliable maps of disease rates in small areas to improve identification of spatial trends at the local level.
In all data environments, Poisson kriging exhibited greater smoothing strength than UMBME. With the simulated data where the true latent rate of infection was known, Poisson kriging resulted in greater estimation accuracy with data that displayed low spatial autocorrelation, while UMBME provided more accurate estimators with data that displayed higher spatial autocorrelation. With the HIV data, UMBME performed slightly better than Poisson kriging in cross-validatory predictive checks, with both models performing better than the observed data model with no smoothing.
Smoothing methods have different advantages depending upon both internal model assumptions that affect smoothing strength and external data environments, such as spatial correlation of the observed data. Further model comparisons in different data environments are required to provide public health practitioners with guidelines needed in choosing the most appropriate smoothing method for their particular health dataset.
PMCID: PMC3204220  PMID: 21978359
disease mapping; sampling variability; spatial distribution; spatial analysis; epidemiological methods
20.  Acute HIV-1 infection is highly prevalent in Ugandan adults with suspected malaria 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(12):1945-1952.
Acute febrile illnesses consistent with malaria are the most common presentation at health clinics in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for 30–50% of outpatient visits. The symptoms of acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection can mimic acute malaria. We investigated whether acute HIV infections could be identified among adults with suspected malaria at rural health centers in Uganda.
Cross-sectional study of 1,000 consecutive patients referred for malaria blood smears at each of 7 government health centers, of which 2893 (41%) were age 13 years or older and tested for HIV.
HIV EIA antibody testing was performed on dried blood spots and confirmed by Western blot (WB). EIA non-reactive and EIA reactive, WB-unconfirmed samples were pooled (10/pool) and tested for HIV RNA by nucleic acid amplification testing. We defined acute HIV infection as HIV-1 RNA positive with a negative or indeterminate HIV-1 Western blot pattern and early HIV infection as HIV-1 RNA positive with a positive Western blot pattern, but with a BED corrected optical density (ODn) of <0.8.
Of 2893 patients evaluated, 324 (11%) had test results indicating HIV infection. Overall, 30 patients (1.0%) had acute HIV infection, 56 (1.8%) had early HIV infection, and 238 (8%) had established HIV infection. Acute HIV infections were more prevalent at sites with higher HIV prevalence and lower malaria endemicity.
At multiple sites in Uganda, 1–3% of adults with suspected malaria had acute or early HIV infection. These findings highlight a major opportunity for expanding recognition of acute and early HIV infection in Africa.
PMCID: PMC2909782  PMID: 20543656
HIV Serodiagnosis; Malaria; Africa; Acute HIV Infection
21.  Performance of Risk-Based Criteria for Targeting Acute HIV Screening in San Francisco 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21813.
Federal guidelines now recommend supplemental HIV RNA testing for persons at high risk for acute HIV infection. However, many rapid HIV testing sites do not include HIV RNA or p24 antigen testing due to concerns about cost, the need for results follow-up, and the impact of expanded venipuncture on clinic flow. We developed criteria to identify patients in a municipal STD clinic in San Francisco who are asymptomatic but may still be likely to have acute infection.
Data were from patients tested with serial HIV antibody and HIV RNA tests to identify acute HIV infection. BED-CEIA results were used to classify non-acute cases as recent or longstanding. Demographics and self-reported risk behaviors were collected at time of testing. Multivariate models were developed and preliminarily evaluated using predictors associated with recent infection in bivariate analyses as a proxy for acute HIV infection. Multivariate models demonstrating ≥70% sensitivity for recent infection while testing ≤60% of patients in this development dataset were then validated by determining their performance in identifying acute infections.
From 2004–2007, 137 of 12,622 testers had recent and 36 had acute infections. A model limiting acute HIV screening to MSM plus any one of a series of other predictors resulted in a sensitivity of 83.3% and only 47.6% of patients requiring testing. A single-factor model testing only patients reporting any receptive anal intercourse resulted in 88.9% sensitivity with only 55.2% of patients requiring testing.
In similar high risk HIV testing sites, acute screening using “supplemental” HIV p24 antigen or RNA tests can be rationally targeted to testers who report particular HIV risk behaviors. By improving the efficiency of acute HIV testing, such criteria could facilitate expanded acute case identification.
PMCID: PMC3130783  PMID: 21755003
22.  PCR-Based Pooling of Dried Blood Spots for Detection of Malaria Parasites: Optimization and Application to a Cohort of Ugandan Children ▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(10):3539-3543.
Sensitive, high-throughput methods to detect malaria parasites in low-transmission settings are needed. PCR-based pooling strategies may offer a solution. We first used laboratory-prepared samples to compare 2 DNA extraction and 4 PCR detection methods across a range of pool sizes and parasite densities. Pooled Chelex extraction of DNA, followed by nested PCR of cytochrome b, was the optimal strategy, allowing reliable detection of a single low-parasitemic sample (100 parasites/μl) in pool sizes up to 50. This PCR-based pooling strategy was then compared with microscopy using 891 dried blood spots from a cohort of 77 Ugandan children followed for 2 years in an urban setting of low endemicity. Among 419 febrile episodes, 35 cases of malaria were detected using the PCR-based pooling strategy and 40 cases using microscopy. All five cases of malaria not detected by PCR were from samples stored for >2 years with parasitemia of <6,000/μl, highlighting the issue of possible DNA degradation with long-term storage of samples. Among 472 samples collected from asymptomatic children as part of routine surveillance, 15 (3.2%) were positive by PCR-based pooling compared to 4 (0.8%) by microscopy (P = 0.01). Thus, this PCR-based pooling strategy for detection of malaria parasites using dried blood spots offers a sensitive and efficient approach for malaria surveillance in low-transmission settings, enabling improved detection of asymptomatic submicroscopic infections and dramatic savings in labor and costs.
PMCID: PMC2953134  PMID: 20686079
23.  Transmitted Drug Resistance in Persons with Acute/Early HIV-1 in San Francisco, 2002-2009 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15510.
Transmitted HIV-1 drug resistance (TDR) is an ongoing public health problem, representing 10–20% of new HIV infections in many geographic areas. TDR usually arises from two main sources: individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who are failing to achieve virologic suppression, and individuals who acquired TDR and transmit it while still ART-naïve. TDR rates can be impacted when novel antiretroviral medications are introduced that allow for greater virologic suppression of source patients. Although several new HIV medications were introduced starting in late 2007, including raltegravir, maraviroc, and etravirine, it is not known whether the prevalence of TDR was subsequently affected in 2008–2009.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed population sequence genotyping on individuals who were diagnosed with acute or early HIV (<6 months duration) and who enrolled in the Options Project, a prospective cohort, between 2002 and 2009. We used logistic regression to compare the odds of acquiring drug-resistant HIV before versus after the arrival of new ART (2005–2007 vs. 2008–2009). From 2003–2007, TDR rose from 7% to 24%. Prevalence of TDR was then 15% in 2008 and in 2009. While the odds of acquiring TDR were lower in 2008–2009 compared to 2005–2007, this was not statistically significant (odds ratio 0.65, 95% CI 0.31–1.38; p = 0.27).
Our study suggests that transmitted drug resistance rose from 2003–2007, but this upward trend did not continue in 2008 and 2009. Nevertheless, the TDR prevalence in 2008–2009 remained substantial, emphasizing that improved management strategies for drug-resistant HIV are needed if TDR is to be further reduced. Continued surveillance for TDR will be important in understanding the full impact of new antiretroviral medications.
PMCID: PMC3000814  PMID: 21170322
24.  Sexually Transmitted Infections among Patients with Acute HIV in North Carolina 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2009;36(6):372-374.
PMCID: PMC2708082  PMID: 19387421
HIV transmission; acute HIV infection; sexually transmitted infections; viral load; Southeastern United States
25.  Targeted Testing for Acute HIV Infection in North Carolina 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(7):835-843.
Persons with acute HIV infection contribute disproportionately to HIV transmission. Identification of these persons is a critical public health challenge. We developed targeted approaches to detect HIV RNA in persons with negative serological tests.
Persons undergoing publicly funded HIV testing in North Carolina between October, 2002 and April, 2005 were included in this cross-sectional study. We used logistic regression to develop targeted testing approaches. We also assessed simple approaches based on clinic type and geography. Algorithm development used persons with recent HIV infection, determined by a detuned ELISA. Validation used persons with acute HIV infection, identified with an HIV RNA pooling procedure.
Among 215,528 eligible persons, 232 persons had recent HIV infection and 44 acute HIV infection. A combination of five indicators (testing site, sexual preference, sex with a person with HIV infection, county HIV incidence, and race) identified 92% of recent infections when testing 50% of the population. In validation among persons with acute HIV infection, this indicator combination had sensitivities of 98% in years 1 & 2 and 88% in year 3. A simple combination of testing site and county performed nearly as well (Development (recent infections): Sensitivity = 95%; Validation (acute infections): Sensitivity = 86% in years 1 & 2; 81% in year 3; cutoff established for testing 50% of population.)
Acute HIV infection can be identified accurately using targeted testing. Simple approaches to identify the types of clinics and geographical areas where infections are concentrated may be logistically feasible and cost-efficient.
PMCID: PMC2828678  PMID: 19318909

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