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1.  Hepatitis C Viremia and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected Individuals 
Lucas, Gregory M. | Jing, Yuezhou | Sulkowski, Mark | Abraham, Alison G. | Estrella, Michelle M. | Atta, Mohamed G. | Fine, Derek M. | Klein, Marina B. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Gill, M. John | Moore, Richard D. | Gebo, Kelly A. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Butt, Adeel A. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Benson, Constance A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Carey, John T. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Horberg, Michael A. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | Rachlis, Anita R. | Rico, Puerto | Hunter-Mellado, Robert F. | Mayor, Angel M. | Gill, M. John | Deeks, Steven G. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Patel, Pragna | Brooks, John T. | 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. | 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. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | 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
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(8):1240-1249.
Background. The role of active hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk has not been clarified.
Methods. We compared CKD incidence in a large cohort of HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, HCV viremic (detectable HCV RNA), or HCV aviremic (HCV seropositive, undetectable HCV RNA). Stages 3 and 5 CKD were defined according to standard criteria. Progressive CKD was defined as a sustained 25% glomerular filtration rate (GFR) decrease from baseline to a GFR < 60 mL/min/1.73 m2. We used Cox models to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
Results. A total of 52 602 HCV seronegative, 9508 HCV viremic, and 913 HCV aviremic subjects were included. Compared with HCV seronegative subjects, HCV viremic subjects were at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (adjusted HR 1.36 [95% CI, 1.26, 1.46]), stage 5 CKD (1.95 [1.64, 2.31]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.19, 1.44]), while HCV aviremic subjects were also at increased risk for stage 3 CKD (1.19 [0.98, 1.45]), stage 5 CKD (1.69 [1.07, 2.65]), and progressive CKD (1.31 [1.02, 1.68]).
Conclusions. Compared with HIV-infected subjects who were HCV seronegative, both HCV viremic and HCV aviremic individuals were at increased risk for moderate and advanced CKD.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit373
PMCID: PMC3778973  PMID: 23904290
HIV; hepatitis C virus; chronic kidney disease; hepatitis C RNA; cohort study; glomerular filtration rate; injection drug use
2.  Trends and Disparities in Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation and Virologic Suppression Among Newly Treatment-Eligible HIV-Infected Individuals in North America, 2001–2009 
Hanna, David B. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Hessol, Nancy A. | Horberg, Michael A. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Kirk, Gregory D. | Kitahata, Mari M. | Korthuis, P. Todd | Moore, Richard D. | Napravnik, Sonia | Patel, Pragna | Silverberg, Michael J. | Sterling, Timothy R. | Willig, James H. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Crane, Heidi M. | Collier, Ann C. | Samji, Hasina | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Gill, M. John | Klein, Marina B. | Martin, Jeffrey N. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Rourke, Sean B. | Gange, Stephen J. | Benson, A. | Bosch, Ronald J. | Collier, Ann C. | Boswell, Stephen | Grasso, Chris | Mayer, Ken | Hogg, Robert S. | Harrigan, Richard | Montaner, Julio | Cescon, Angela | Brooks, John T. | Buchacz, Kate | Gebo, Kelly A. | Moore, Richard D. | Rodriguez, Benigno | Horberg, Michael A. | Silverberg, Michael J. | Thorne, Jennifer E. | Goedert, James J. | Jacobson, Lisa P. | Klein, Marina B. | Rourke, Sean B. | Burchell, Ann | 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. | McKaig, Rosemary G. | Justice, Amy C. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Moore, Richard D. | Freeman, Aimee M. | Lent, Carol | Platt, Aaron | Kitahata, Mari M. | Van Rompaey, Stephen E. | Crane, Heidi M. | Webster, Eric | Morton, Liz | Simon, Brenda | Gange, Stephen J. | Abraham, Alison G. | Lau, Bryan | Althoff, Keri N. | Zhang, Jinbing | Jing, Jerry | Golub, Elizabeth | Modur, Shari | Hanna, David B. | Rebeiro, Peter | Wong, Cherise | Mendes, Adell
In the last decade, timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy and resulting virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain.
Background. Since the mid-1990s, effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens have improved in potency, tolerability, ease of use, and class diversity. We sought to examine trends in treatment initiation and resulting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) virologic suppression in North America between 2001 and 2009, and demographic and geographic disparities in these outcomes.
Methods. We analyzed data on HIV-infected individuals newly clinically eligible for ART (ie, first reported CD4+ count <350 cells/µL or AIDS-defining illness, based on treatment guidelines during the study period) from 17 North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design cohorts. Outcomes included timely ART initiation (within 6 months of eligibility) and virologic suppression (≤500 copies/mL, within 1 year). We examined time trends and considered differences by geographic location, age, sex, transmission risk, race/ethnicity, CD4+ count, and viral load, and documented psychosocial barriers to ART initiation, including non–injection drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and mental illness.
Results. Among 10 692 HIV-infected individuals, the cumulative incidence of 6-month ART initiation increased from 51% in 2001 to 72% in 2009 (Ptrend < .001). The cumulative incidence of 1-year virologic suppression increased from 55% to 81%, and among ART initiators, from 84% to 93% (both Ptrend < .001). A greater number of psychosocial barriers were associated with decreased ART initiation, but not virologic suppression once ART was initiated. We found significant heterogeneity by state or province of residence (P < .001).
Conclusions. In the last decade, timely ART initiation and virologic suppression have greatly improved in North America concurrent with the development of better-tolerated and more potent regimens, but significant barriers to treatment uptake remain, both at the individual level and systemwide.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit003
PMCID: PMC3657490  PMID: 23315317
antiretroviral therapy; healthcare disparities; HIV; time factors; viral load
3.  Outcomes by Sex Following Treatment Initiation With Atazanavir Plus Ritonavir or Efavirenz With Abacavir/Lamivudine or Tenofovir/Emtricitabine 
Smith, Kimberly Y. | Tierney, Camlin | Mollan, Katie | Venuto, Charles S. | Budhathoki, Chakra | Ma, Qing | Morse, Gene D. | Sax, Paul | Katzenstein, David | Godfrey, Catherine | Fischl, Margaret | Daar, Eric S. | Collier, Ann C. | Bolivar, Hector H. | Navarro, Sandra | Koletar, Susan L. | Gochnour, Diane | Seefried, Edward | Hoffman, Julie | Feinberg, Judith | Saemann, Michelle | Patterson, Kristine | Pittard, Donna | Currin, David | Upton, Kerry | Saag, Michael | Ray, Graham | Johnson, Steven | Santos, Bartolo | Funk, Connie A. | Morgan, Michael | Jackson, Brenda | Tebas, Pablo | Thomas, Aleshia | Kim, Ge-Youl | Klebert, Michael K. | Santana, Jorge L. | Marrero, Santiago | Norris, Jane | Valle, Sandra | Cox, Gary Matthew | Silberman, Martha | Shaik, Sadia | Lopez, Ruben | Vasquez, Margie | Daskalakis, Demetre | Megill, Christina | Shore, Jessica | Taiwo, Babafemi | Goldman, Mitchell | Boston, Molly | Lennox, Jeffrey | del Rio, Carlos | Lane, Timothy W. | Epperson, Kim | Luetkemeyer, Annie | Payne, Mary | Gripshover, Barbara | Antosh, Dawn | Reid, Jane | Adams, Mary | Storey, Sheryl S. | Dunaway, Shelia B. | Gallant, Joel | Wiggins, Ilene | Smith, Kimberly Y. | Swiatek, Joan A. | Timpone, Joseph | Kumar, Princy | Moe, Ardis | Palmer, Maria | Gothing, Jon | Delaney, Joanne | Whitely, Kim | Anderson, Ann Marie | Hammer, Scott M. | Yin, Michael T. | Jain, Mamta | Petersen, Tianna | Corales, Roberto | Hurley, Christine | Henry, Keith | Bordenave, Bette | Youmans, Amanda | Albrecht, Mary | Pollard, Richard B. | Olusanya, Abimbola | Skolnik, Paul R. | Adams, Betsy | Tashima, Karen T. | Patterson, Helen | Ukwu, Michelle | Rogers, Lauren | Balfour, Henry H. | Fox, Kathy A. | Swindells, Susan | Van Meter, Frances | Robbins, Gregory | Burgett-Yandow, Nicole | Davis, Charles E. | Boyce, Colleen | O'Brien, William A. | Casey, Gerianne | Morse, Gene D. | Hsaio, Chiu-Bin | Meier, Jeffrey L. | Stapleton, Jack T. | Mildvan, Donna | Revuelta, Manuel | Currin, David | El Sadr, Wafaa | Loquere, Avelino | El-Daher, Nyef | Johnson, Tina | Gross, Robert | Maffei, Kathyrn | Hughes, Valery | Sturge, Glenn | McMahon, Deborah | Rutecki, Barbara | Wulfsohn, Michael | Cheng, Andrew | Dix, Lynn | Liao, Qiming
This clinical trial identifies a significantly earlier time to virologic failure in women randomized to atazanavir/ritonavir compared to women randomized to efavirenz.
Background. We aimed to evaluate treatment responses to atazanavir plus ritonavir (ATV/r) or efavirenz (EFV) in initial antiretroviral regimens among women and men, and determine if treatment outcomes differ by sex.
Methods. We performed a randomized trial of open-label ATV/r or EFV combined with abacavir/lamivudine (ABC/3TC) or tenofovir/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC) in 1857 human immunodeficiency virus type 1–infected, treatment-naive persons enrolled between September 2005 and November 2007 at 59 sites in the United States and Puerto Rico. Associations of sex with 3 primary study endpoints of time to virologic failure, safety, and tolerability events were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards models. Model-based population pharmacokinetic analysis was performed using nonlinear mixed effects modeling (NONMEM version VII).
Results. Of 1857 participants, 322 were women. Women assigned to ATV/r had a higher risk of virologic failure with either nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor backbone than women assigned to EFV, or men assigned to ATV/r. The effects of ATV/r and EFV upon safety and tolerability risk did not differ significantly by sex. With ABC/3TC, women had a significantly higher (32%) safety risk compared to men; with TDF/FTC, the safety risk was 20% larger for women compared to men, but not statistically significant. Women had slower ATV clearance and higher predose levels of ATV compared to men. Self-reported adherence did not differ significantly by sex.
Conclusions. This is the first randomized clinical trial to identify a significantly earlier time to virologic failure in women randomized to ATV/r compared to women randomized to EFV. This finding has important clinical implications given that boosted protease inhibitors are often favored over EFV in women of childbearing potential.
Clinical Trials Registration NCT00118898.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit747
PMCID: PMC3905755  PMID: 24253247
sex; atazanavir; efavirenz; abacavir; tenofovir
4.  Pain is Independently Associated with Impaired Physical Function in HIV-infected Patients 
Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.)  2013;14(12):10.1111/pme.12255.
Introduction
HIV-infected patients in the current treatment era can achieve normal life expectancies, but experience a high degree of medical and psychiatric comorbidity. Impaired physical function and pain, often in the context of mood disorders and substance abuse, are common in HIV-infected patients. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of pain, a modifiable condition, to functional impairment in HIV-infected patients, independent of mood disorders and substance abuse.
Methods
Participants in a prospective cohort of HIV-infected patients at the University of Alabama at Birmingham were included. Patient-reported outcome measures were used to cross-sectionally assess pain and physical function (EuroQOL), mood disorders (PHQ), and substance abuse (ASSIST). Univariate and multivariable models were built with pain as the principal independent variable of interest and 3 domains of physical function (mobility, self-care, and usual activities) as outcomes. Covariates included mood, substance abuse, age, race, sex, insurance status, HIV transmission risk factor, and CD4+ T-cell count.
Results
Among 1903 participants, 693 (37%) reported pain; 509 (27%) had a mood disorder; and 157 (8.4%) reported current substance abuse. In multivariable models, pain was independently associated with increased odds of impairment in all three domains of physical function investigated – mobility (aOR 10.5, 95% CI 7.6–14.6), self-care (aOR 4.1, 95% CI 2.2–7.4), and usual activities (aOR 5.4, 95% CI 4.0–7.4).
Discussion
Pain was associated with substantially increased odds of impairment in physical function. Pain should be an important consideration in HIV primary care. Interventions to address pain and impaired physical function should be investigated.
doi:10.1111/pme.12255
PMCID: PMC3886835  PMID: 24119077
HIV; pain; physical function; mental health; substance abuse
5.  ‘Two Pains Together’: Patient Perspectives on Psychological Aspects of Chronic Pain while Living with HIV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111765.
Objective
Chronic pain is common in HIV-infected individuals. Understanding HIV-infected patients’ chronic pain experience not just from a biological, but also from a psychological perspective, is a critical first step toward improving care for this population. Our objective was to explore HIV-infected patients’ perspectives on psychological aspects of chronic pain using in-depth qualitative interviews.
Methods
Investigators engaged in an iterative process of independent and group coding until theme saturation was reached.
Results
Of the 25 patients with chronic pain interviewed, 20 were male, 15 were younger than age 50, and 15 were African-American. Key themes that emerged included the close relationship between mood and pain; mood and pain in the context of living with HIV; use of alcohol/drugs to self-medicate for pain; and the challenge of receiving prescription pain medications while dealing with substance use disorders.
Conclusions
The results suggest that psychological approaches to chronic pain treatment may be well received by HIV-infected patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111765
PMCID: PMC4218809  PMID: 25365306
6.  Comparative effectiveness of fish oil versus fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and atorvastatin on lowering triglyceride levels among HIV-infected patients in routine clinical care 
Objective
The goal of this study was to compare the effectiveness of fish oil, fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, and atorvastatin on reducing triglyceride (TG) levels among a large cohort of HIV-infected patients in clinical care.
Design
Retrospective observational cohort study
Methods
The primary endpoint was absolute change in TG levels measured using the last TG value pre-treatment and the first TG value post-treatment. A pre-post quasi-experimental design was used to estimate the change in TG due to initiating fish oil. Linear regression models examined the comparative effectiveness of treatment with fish oil versus gemfibrozil, fenofibrate, or atorvastatin for TG reduction. Models were adjusted for baseline differences in age, sex, race, CD4+ cell count, diabetes, body mass index, protease inhibitor use, and time between TG measures.
Results
A total of 493 patients (mean age 46 years; 95% male) were included (46 receiving gemfibrozil, 80 fenofibrate, 291 atorvastatin, 76 fish oil) with a mean baseline TG of 347 mg/dL. New use of fish oil decreased TG (ΔTG -45 mg/dL 95% Confidence interval (CI):-80 to -11) in the pre-post study. Compared with fish oil (reference), fibrates were more effective (ΔTG -66; 95% CI:-120 to -12) in reducing TG levels, whereas atorvastatin was not (ΔTG -39; 95% CI:-86 to 9).
Conclusion
In HIV-infected patients in routine clinical care, fish oil is less effective than fibrates (but not atorvastatin) at lowering triglyceride values. Fish oil may still represent an attractive alternative for patients with moderately elevated triglycerides particularly among patients who may not want or tolerate fibrates.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a60e82
PMCID: PMC4112457  PMID: 23892238
fish oil; triglycerides; dyslipidemia; fibrates; HIV
7.  Physical Activity and Health Outcomes among HIV-infected Men who have Sex with Men: A Longitudinal Mediational Analysis 
Background
Low physical activity is associated with depression, which may in turn, negatively impact antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence among HIV-infected individuals; however, prior studies have not investigated the relationships between physical inactivity and ART non-adherence.
Purpose
To examine the association of physical inactivity, depression, ART non-adherence, and viral load in HIV-infected men who have sex with men.
Methods
The sample (N = 860) was from a large, multicenter cohort of HIV-infected patients engaged in clinical care.
Results
Across time, depression mediated the relationship between physical inactivity and ART non-adherence, γ = .075, and the relationship between physical inactivity and viral load, γ = .05. ART non-adherence mediated the relationship between depression and viral load, γ = .002, and the relationship between physical inactivity and viral load, γ = .009.
Conclusions
Low levels of physical activity predicted increased depression and poor ART adherence over time, which subsequently predicted higher viral load.
doi:10.1007/s12160-013-9489-3
PMCID: PMC3714319  PMID: 23483379
HIV/AIDS; physical activity; depression; adherence; viral load
8.  A Pilot Study of Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) in Non-Treatment Seeking Smokers with HIV 
Addictive behaviors  2013;38(10):2541-2546.
Introduction
PLHIV have higher rates of smoking and lower motivation to quit smoking; thus to impact smoking rates, cessation interventions need to be acceptable to a wider range of PLHIV smokers as well as feasible to implement in a busy clinical setting. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the acceptability, feasibility, and effects of a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) model in an HIV/AIDS clinic among a sample of PLHIV.
Methods
PLHIV smokers (N = 40) were randomized at baseline, irrespective of their self-reported discrete smoking cessation motivation status, to receive either 8-weeks of combination nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in conjunction with brief counseling (SBIRT framework) (n = 23) or usual care (n = 17). Smoking outcome measures included cigarettes smoked per day, nicotine dependence, smoking urge, and smoking withdrawal symptoms.
Results
The SBIRT intervention appeared to be acceptable and feasible, and produced medium to large reductions in cigarettes smoked per day, physical nicotine dependence, smoking urge, and smoking withdrawal symptoms, even for smokers not ready to quit within 6 months.
Conclusions
Findings provide preliminary support for the integration of an SBIRT model in an HIV/AIDS clinic setting to screen and provide active treatment to all smokers, regardless of readiness to quit smoking. Given the high prevalence and incredible health burden of continued smoking in this population, identifying brief and effective interventions that are easily translated into clinical practice represents an enormous challenge that if met, will yield significant improvements to overall patient outcomes.
doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.05.003
PMCID: PMC3725186  PMID: 23787030
9.  Mortality in Patients with HIV-1 Infection Starting Antiretroviral Therapy in South Africa, Europe, or North America: A Collaborative Analysis of Prospective Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(9):e1001718.
Analyzing survival in HIV treatment cohorts, Andrew Boulle and colleagues find mortality rates in South Africa comparable to or better than those in North America by 4 years after starting antiretroviral therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
High early mortality in patients with HIV-1 starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to Europe and North America, is well documented. Longer-term comparisons between settings have been limited by poor ascertainment of mortality in high burden African settings. This study aimed to compare mortality up to four years on ART between South Africa, Europe, and North America.
Methods and Findings
Data from four South African cohorts in which patients lost to follow-up (LTF) could be linked to the national population register to determine vital status were combined with data from Europe and North America. Cumulative mortality, crude and adjusted (for characteristics at ART initiation) mortality rate ratios (relative to South Africa), and predicted mortality rates were described by region at 0–3, 3–6, 6–12, 12–24, and 24–48 months on ART for the period 2001–2010. Of the adults included (30,467 [South Africa], 29,727 [Europe], and 7,160 [North America]), 20,306 (67%), 9,961 (34%), and 824 (12%) were women. Patients began treatment with markedly more advanced disease in South Africa (median CD4 count 102, 213, and 172 cells/µl in South Africa, Europe, and North America, respectively). High early mortality after starting ART in South Africa occurred mainly in patients starting ART with CD4 count <50 cells/µl. Cumulative mortality at 4 years was 16.6%, 4.7%, and 15.3% in South Africa, Europe, and North America, respectively. Mortality was initially much lower in Europe and North America than South Africa, but the differences were reduced or reversed (North America) at longer durations on ART (adjusted rate ratios 0.46, 95% CI 0.37–0.58, and 1.62, 95% CI 1.27–2.05 between 24 and 48 months on ART comparing Europe and North America to South Africa). While bias due to under-ascertainment of mortality was minimised through death registry linkage, residual bias could still be present due to differing approaches to and frequency of linkage.
Conclusions
After accounting for under-ascertainment of mortality, with increasing duration on ART, the mortality rate on HIV treatment in South Africa declines to levels comparable to or below those described in participating North American cohorts, while substantially narrowing the differential with the European cohorts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
AIDS has killed about 36 million people since the first recorded case of the disease in 1981, and a similar number of people (including 25 million living in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV destroys immune system cells (including CD4 cells, a type of lymphocyte), leaving infected individuals susceptible to other serious infections. Early in the AIDS epidemic, HIV-positive people usually died within 10 years of becoming infected. In 1996, effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) became available and, for people living in high-income countries, HIV infection became a chronic condition. But ART was expensive, so HIV/AIDS remained largely untreated and fatal in resource-limited countries. Then, in 2003, the international community began to work towards achieving universal access to ART. By the end of 2012, nearly two-thirds of HIV-positive people (nearly 10 million individuals) living in low- and middle-income countries who were eligible for treatment because their CD4 cell count had fallen below 350/mm3 blood or because they had developed an AIDS-defining condition were receiving treatment.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is known that a larger proportion of HIV-positive patients starting ART die during the first year of treatment in sub-Saharan Africa than in Europe and North America. This difference arises in part because patients in resource-limited settings tend to have lower CD4 counts when they start treatment than patients in wealthy countries. However, the lack of reliable data on mortality (death) in resource-limited settings has made it hard to compare longer-term outcomes in different settings. Information on the long-term outcomes of HIV-positive patients receiving ART in resource-limited countries is needed to guide the development of appropriate health systems and treatment regimens in these settings. In this collaborative analysis of prospective cohort studies, the researchers compare mortality up to 4 years on ART in South Africa, Europe, and North America. A prospective cohort study follows a group of individuals over time to see whether differences in specific characteristics at the start of the study affect subsequent outcomes. A collaborative analysis combines individual patient data from several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers combined data from four South Africa cohorts of HIV-positive patients starting ART included in the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS South African (IeDEA-SA) collaboration with data from six North American cohorts and nine European cohorts included in the ART Cohort Collaboration (ART-CC). The South African cohorts were chosen because unusually for studies undertaken in countries in sub-Saharan Africa the vital status of patients (whether they had died) who had been lost to follow-up in these cohorts could be obtained from the national population register. Patients in South Africa began treatment with more advanced disease (indicated by a lower average CD4 count) than patients in Europe or North America. Notably, high early mortality after starting ART in South Africa occurred mainly in patients starting ART with a CD4 count below 50 cells/mm3. The cumulative mortality after 4 years of ART was 16.6%, 4.7%, and 15.3% in South Africa, Europe, and North America, respectively. After adjusting for patient characteristics at ART initiation, the mortality rate among patients beginning ART was initially lower in Europe and North American than in South Africa. However, although the adjusted mortality rate in Europe remained lower than the rate in South Africa, the rate in North America was higher than that in South Africa between 24 and 48 months on ART.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although the linkage to national vital registration systems (databases of births and deaths) undertaken in this collaborative analysis is likely to have greatly reduced bias due to under-ascertainment of mortality, the accuracy of these findings may still be limited by differences in how this linkage was undertaken in different settings. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that mortality among HIV-infected patients receiving ART in South Africa, although initially higher than in Europe and North America, rapidly declines with increasing duration on ART and, after 4 years of treatment, approaches the rate seen in high-income settings. Intriguingly, these findings also highlight the relatively higher late mortality in North America compared to either Europe or South Africa, a result that needs to be investigated to explore the extent to which differences in mortality ascertainment, patient characteristics and comorbidities, or health systems and treatment regimens contribute to variations in outcomes among HIV-positive patients in various settings.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001718.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Agnes Binagwaho and colleagues
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on universal access to ART, on HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and on HIV and AIDS in South Africa (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS (in several languages); its 2013 Consolidated guidelines on the use of antiretroviral drugs for treating and preventing HIV infections: recommendations for a public health approach are available
The 2013 UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
Information about the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS South African (IeDEA-SA) collaboration and about the ART Cohort Collaboration is available
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, Nam/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001718
PMCID: PMC4159124  PMID: 25203931
10.  Incidence and Timing of Cancer in HIV-Infected Individuals Following Initiation of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy 
Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma rates were highest immediately after antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, particularly among patients with low CD4 cell counts, whereas other cancers increased with time on ART. Calendar year of ART initiation was not associated with subsequent cancer incidence.
Background
Cancer is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but patterns of cancer incidence after combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation remain poorly characterized.
Methods
We evaluated the incidence and timing of cancer diagnoses among patients initiating ART between 1996 and 2011 in a collaboration of 8 US clinical HIV cohorts. Poisson regression was used to estimate incidence rates. Cox regression was used to identify demographic and clinical characteristics associated with cancer incidence after ART initiation.
Results
At initiation of first combination ART among 11 485 patients, median year was 2004 (interquartile range [IQR], 2000–2007) and median CD4 count was 202 cells/mm3 (IQR, 61–338). Incidence rates for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and lymphomas were highest in the first 6 months after ART initiation (P < .001) and plateaued thereafter, while incidence rates for all other cancers combined increased from 416 to 615 cases per 100 000 person-years from 1 to 10 years after ART initiation (average 7% increase per year; 95% confidence interval, 2%–13%). Lower CD4 count at ART initiation was associated with greater risk of KS, lymphoma, and human papillomavirus–related cancer. Calendar year of ART initiation was not associated with cancer incidence.
Conclusions
KS and lymphoma rates were highest immediately following ART initiation, particularly among patients with low CD4 cell counts, whereas other cancers increased with time on ART, likely reflecting increased cancer risk with aging. Our results underscore recommendations for earlier HIV diagnosis followed by prompt ART initiation along with ongoing aggressive cancer screening and prevention efforts throughout the course of HIV care.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit369
PMCID: PMC3739467  PMID: 23735330
HIV-associated malignancies; AIDS-defining cancer; non-AIDS-defining cancer; combination antiretroviral therapy
11.  Characteristics of an Ambulatory Palliative Care Clinic for HIV-Infected Patients 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2013;16(8):934-937.
Abstract
Background
Many HIV-infected patients in the current treatment era have substantial symptom burden, but few HIV palliative care clinics have been described. Our objective was to describe the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) HIV palliative care clinic (HPCC) and compare it to the overall HIV clinic.
Methods
We conducted a chart review of patients referred to the HPCC between April 2008 and June 2011. We evaluated the reason for referral and other issues addressed during palliative care visits. Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) data was used to assess depression (PHQ-9), anxiety (PHQ-A), and substance abuse (ASSIST).
Results
Among 124 patients, mean age was 44 (range 27–64), and median CD4 count was 352 cells/mm3 (IQR 209–639). Depression (43, 35%), anxiety (40, 32%), and current 8 (7%) or prior 68 (56%) substance abuse occurred at higher rates than in the overall HIV clinic (p<0.05). Pain was the most common reason for referral (118, 95%); most was chronic (113, 90%) and included back pain (26, 21%) and neuropathic pain (15, 12%). Other problems commonly addressed by the palliative team included nonpain symptoms such as depression (39, 48%) and anxiety (17, 21%), insomnia (25, 30%), and constipation (26, 32%).
Conclusions
This is the first description of a palliative care clinic embedded within an HIV primary care clinic in a developed country that sees patients at all stages of illness. Chronic pain and nonpain symptom management in patients with psychiatric and substance abuse comorbidities are important components of ambulatory palliative care for HIV-infected patients.
doi:10.1089/jpm.2012.0451
PMCID: PMC3727562  PMID: 23477304
12.  Short Communication: Lack of Occult HIV Infection Among Non-AIDS-Defining Cancer Patients in Three Academic Oncology Clinics in the United States 
Abstract
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) testing recommendations suggest universal opt-out testing in all health care settings, including cancer clinics. The incidence of non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) is on the rise among HIV patients. However, to date, no data exist on the prevalence of HIV infection among NADC patients in the United States. Knowledge of HIV infection may affect clinical management, prognosis, and overall patient survival and decrease new infections in the population. The purpose of this study was to determine the point seroprevalence of HIV infection in cancer patients being seen in medical oncology clinics. A total of 634 individuals (mean age=53.2 years) participated and were tested for HIV. None of the participants tested positive for HIV in any of the three clinics. Using a futility analysis, the upper end of the 95% confidence interval for prevalence of undiagnosed HIV in cancer patients was less than 0.3%. Most participants were female (59.2%) and non-Hispanic (96.6%). The majority of study participants were white (76.5%) or African-American (17.7%). Breast cancer (19.7%), colon cancer (10.3%), and melanoma (9.7%) were the most commonly reported non-AIDS-defining cancers. While our study suggested that there was no occurrence of undiagnosed HIV among NADC patients, it is important to note that our population was largely white, females with insurance and with a different distribution of cancer than the most prevalent NADC among HIV patients. Furthermore, one-third of the patients did not consent to participate and further studies are needed to assess reasons for their unwillingness along with other populations, specifically minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES).
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0344
PMCID: PMC3653389  PMID: 23351216
13.  Impact of Risk Factors for Specific Causes of Death in the First and Subsequent Years of Antiretroviral Therapy Among HIV-Infected Patients 
Among HIV-infected patients who initiated antiretroviral therapy (ART), patterns of cause-specific death varied by ART duration and were strongly related to age, sex, and transmission risk group. Deaths from non-AIDS malignancies were much more frequent than those from cardiovascular disease.
Background. Patterns of cause-specific mortality in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are changing dramatically in the era of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Methods. Sixteen cohorts from Europe and North America contributed data on adult patients followed from the start of ART. Procedures for coding causes of death were standardized. Estimated hazard ratios (HRs) were adjusted for transmission risk group, sex, age, year of ART initiation, baseline CD4 count, viral load, and AIDS status, before and after the first year of ART.
Results. A total of 4237 of 65 121 (6.5%) patients died (median, 4.5 years follow-up). Rates of AIDS death decreased substantially with time since starting ART, but mortality from non-AIDS malignancy increased (rate ratio, 1.04 per year; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0–1.1). Higher mortality in men than women during the first year of ART was mostly due to non-AIDS malignancy and liver-related deaths. Associations with age were strongest for cardiovascular disease, heart/vascular, and malignancy deaths. Patients with presumed transmission through injection drug use had higher rates of all causes of death, particularly for liver-related causes (HRs compared with men who have sex with men: 18.1 [95% CI, 6.2–52.7] during the first year of ART and 9.1 [95% CI, 5.8–14.2] thereafter). There was a persistent role of CD4 count at baseline and at 12 months in predicting AIDS, non-AIDS infection, and non-AIDS malignancy deaths. Lack of viral suppression on ART was associated with AIDS, non-AIDS infection, and other causes of death.
Conclusions. Better understanding of patterns of and risk factors for cause-specific mortality in the ART era can aid in development of appropriate care for HIV-infected individuals and inform guidelines for risk factor management.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu261
PMCID: PMC4073781  PMID: 24771333
HIV; cause-specific mortality; antiretroviral therapy
14.  Effect of Persistency of First-Line HIV Antiretroviral Therapy on Clinical Outcomes 
Abstract
Persistency is the time from initiation to discontinuation of therapy. Previous research has described factors that affect the persistency of initial antiretroviral therapy (ART); however, the impact of persistency on clinical outcomes is unknown. A retrospective study was conducted of treatment-naive HIV patients initiating ART between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2010 at an academic medical center. Descriptive statistics and Cox proportional hazards regression models with persistency as a time‐varying covariate were fit for (1) immunologic failure (subsequent CD4 lower than initial CD4); (2) development of an opportunistic infection (OI) or malignancy; and (3) mortality. Analyses were repeated with an interaction term of persistency (per 180 days) and time (before and after 1 year of ART). Among 879 patients who started ART, the mean age was 38 years (±10) and most patients were racial/ethnic minority (59%), males (80%), and with baseline CD4 <200 cells/mm3 (52%). There were 100 deaths, 94 OIs/malignancy, and 183 immunologic failures; the mean persistency=723 days. In multivariable modeling, increased persistency decreased the overall and long-term hazard for immunologic failure (0.84 per 180 additional days; 0.70–1.00; 0.045). Increased persistency exhibited a potential trend toward decreased hazard for the occurrence of OI/malignancy (0.91; 0.80–1.03; 0.124) overall and after 1 year. Persistency exhibited a trend toward less risk of mortality in the first year of ART (0.42; 0.17–1.06; 0.067). In this study of the relationship between initial ART persistency and clinical outcomes, increased persistency was associated with a decreased hazard for the development of immunologic failure, a trend toward a decreased hazard for OI/malignancy, and a trend toward a decreased risk of first year mortality. Given these findings, the relationship between persistency and clinical outcomes merits further study.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0241
PMCID: PMC3607971  PMID: 23151191
15.  Invasive cervical cancer risk among HIV-infected women: A North American multi-cohort collaboration prospective study 
Objective
HIV infection and low CD4+ T-cell count are associated with an increased risk of persistent oncogenic HPV infection – the major risk factor for cervical cancer. Few reported prospective cohort studies have characterized the incidence of invasive cervical cancer (ICC) in HIV-infected women.
Methods
Data were obtained from HIV-infected and -uninfected female participants in the NA-ACCORD with no history of ICC at enrollment. Participants were followed from study entry or January, 1996 through ICC, loss-to follow-up or December, 2010. The relationship of HIV infection and CD4+ T-cell count with risk of ICC was assessed using age-adjusted Poisson regression models and standardized incidence ratios (SIR). All cases were confirmed by cancer registry records and/or pathology reports. Cervical cytology screening history was assessed through medical record abstraction.
Results
A total of 13,690 HIV-infected and 12,021 HIV-uninfected women contributed 66,249 and 70,815 person-years (pys) of observation, respectively. Incident ICC was diagnosed in 17 HIV-infected and 4 HIV-uninfected women (incidence rate of 26 and 6 per 100,000 pys, respectively). HIV-infected women with baseline CD4+ T-cells of ≥ 350, 200–349 and <200 cells/uL had a 2.3-times, 3.0-times and 7.7-times increase in ICC incidence, respectively, compared with HIV-uninfected women (Ptrend =0.001). Of the 17 HIV-infected cases, medical records for the 5 years prior to diagnosis showed that 6 had no documented screening, 5 had screening with low grade or normal results, and 6 had high-grade results.
Conclusions
This study found elevated incidence of ICC in HIV-infected compared to -uninfected women, and these rates increased with immunosuppression.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31828177d7
PMCID: PMC3633634  PMID: 23254153
Human papilloma virus; HIV-infection; Invasive Cervical Cancer; Immunosuppression
16.  Treatment response in acute/early infection versus advanced AIDS: equivalent first and second phases of HIV RNA decline 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(8):957-962.
Objective
Compare the initial phases of virologic decay when acute/early and advanced HIV-infected adults are administered the same treatment regimen.
Design
Mathematical modeling of a previously completed prospective treatment pilot study involving treatment-naive patients with early and advanced immunosuppression.
Methods
We analyzed data from a treatment protocol in which 18 individuals with acute or recent HIV-1 seroconversion and six patients with advanced AIDS were administered the same four-drug antiretroviral regimen. Initial treatment responses were compared by fitting a mathematical model to frequent viral load measurements in order to calculate the first and second phase kinetics of viral clearance, and also by comparing viral load suppression over 24 weeks. Patients were also comprehensively compared in terms of protease inhibitor drug levels, HIV-specific immune responses at baseline, and the presence of drug resistance-conferring mutations.
Results
There was no statistically meaningful difference in first phase clearance of comparable high-level viremia in the two groups, whether protease inhibitor levels were inserted into the model or 100% antiviral drug effectiveness was assumed. In contrast, acute/early patients had inferior sustained responses than advanced patients, reflecting erratic adherence.
Conclusions
Despite many years of intervening immune destruction, the initial virologic decay on therapy appears to be the same at the extremes of the HIV disease spectrum.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282fbd1da
PMCID: PMC3899827  PMID: 18453855
acute HIV infection; mathematical modeling; viral clearance; viral dynamics
17.  Maraviroc Observational Study: The Impact of Expanded Resistance Testing and Clinical Considerations for Antiretroviral Regimen Selection in Treatment-Experienced Patients 
Abstract
Maraviroc (MVC) use has trailed that of other post-2006 antiretroviral therapy (ART) options for treatment-experienced patients. We explored the impact of free tropism testing on MVC utilization in our cohort and explored barriers to MVC utilization. The Maraviroc Outcomes Study (MOS) is an investigator-initiated industry-sponsored trial where consecutive ART-experienced patients receiving routine care with viral loads ≥1,000 copies/ml, and whose provider requested resistance testing and received standardized resistance testing (SRT; phenotype, genotype, coreceptor/tropism). Sociodemographic, clinical, and ART characteristics of those receiving SRT were compared to a historical cohort (HC). Subsequently, providers were surveyed regarding factors influencing selection of salvage ART therapy. The HC (n=165) had resistance testing 7/08–9/09, while prospective SRT (n=83) patients were enrolled 9/09–8/10. In the HC, 92% had genotypes, 2% had tropism assays, and 62% (n=102) changed ART after resistance testing (raltegravir 37%, etravirine 25%, darunavir 24%, MVC 1%). In the SRT cohort, 57% (n=48) changed regimens after standardized resistance testing (darunavir 48%, raltegravir 40%, and etravirine 19%). CCR5-tropic virus was identified in 43% of the SRT group, and MVC was used in 10% [or 20% of R5 tropic patients who underwent a subsequent regimen change (n=25)], a statistically significant (p=0.01) increase in utilization. The factors most strongly influencing utilization were unique patient circumstances (60%), clinical experience (55%), and potential side effects (40%). The addition of routine tropism testing to genotypic/phenotypic testing was associated with increased MVC utilization, raising the possibility that tropism testing may present a barrier to MVC use; however, additional barriers exist, and merit further evaluation.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0157
PMCID: PMC3608020  PMID: 22881368
18.  Multimorbidity Patterns in HIV-Infected Patients: The Role of Obesity in Chronic Disease Clustering 
Background
Increases in multimorbidity and obesity have been noted in HIV infected populations in the current treatment era. Patterns of multimorbid disease clustering as well as the impact of obesity on multimorbidity are understudied in this population.
Methods
We examined obesity and multimorbidity patterns among 1844 HIV-infected patients in the UAB 1917 Clinic. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to identify the underlying factor structure responsible for clustering. Patterns among the resulting morbidity factors by body mass index (BMI) category were explored. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit to identify predictors of multimorbidity cluster patterns.
Results
The prevalence of multimorbidity was 65% (1205/1844). Prevalence increased with progressive BMI categories from underweight (64%) to obese (79%). Three multimorbidity clusters were identified: “Metabolic” including hypertension (HTN), gout, diabetes mellitus, and chronic kidney disease (CKD) (range: 0.41 to 0.84; P<0.001); “Behavioral“ including mood disorders, dyslipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic ulcer disease, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and cardiac disorders (range: 0.32 to 0.57; P<0.001); “Substance Use” including alcohol abuse, substance abuse, tobacco abuse, and hepatitis C (range: 0.53 to 0.89; P<0.001). Obesity was associated with increased odds of multimorbidity (Obese vs. Normal BMI category: OR=1.52, 95%CI=1.15-2.00).
Conclusions
Three patterns of disease clustering were identified. Obesity was associated with a higher likelihood of multimorbidity. The management of multimorbidity and obesity will need to be addressed in future clinical practice guidelines to enhance long term outcomes of HIV-infected patients in the current treatment era.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827303d5
PMCID: PMC3508375  PMID: 23023101
Multimorbidity; Obesity; HIV; Factor Analysis; Tetrachoric
19.  Heterogeneity in outcomes of treated HIV-positive patients in Europe and North America: relation with patient and cohort characteristics 
Background HIV cohort collaborations, which pool data from diverse patient cohorts, have provided key insights into outcomes of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, the extent of, and reasons for, between-cohort heterogeneity in rates of AIDS and mortality are unclear.
Methods We obtained data on adult HIV-positive patients who started ART from 1998 without a previous AIDS diagnosis from 17 cohorts in North America and Europe. Patients were followed up from 1 month to 2 years after starting ART. We examined between-cohort heterogeneity in crude and adjusted (age, sex, HIV transmission risk, year, CD4 count and HIV-1 RNA at start of ART) rates of AIDS and mortality using random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression.
Results During 61 520 person-years, 754/38 706 (1.9%) patients died and 1890 (4.9%) progressed to AIDS. Between-cohort variance in mortality rates was reduced from 0.84 to 0.24 (0.73 to 0.28 for AIDS rates) after adjustment for patient characteristics. Adjusted mortality rates were inversely associated with cohorts’ estimated completeness of death ascertainment [excellent: 96–100%, good: 90–95%, average: 75–89%; mortality rate ratio 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.46–0.94) per category]. Mortality rate ratios comparing Europe with North America were 0.42 (0.31–0.57) before and 0.47 (0.30–0.73) after adjusting for completeness of ascertainment.
Conclusions Heterogeneity between settings in outcomes of HIV treatment has implications for collaborative analyses, policy and clinical care. Estimated mortality rates may require adjustment for completeness of ascertainment. Higher mortality rate in North American, compared with European, cohorts was not fully explained by completeness of ascertainment and may be because of the inclusion of more socially marginalized patients with higher mortality risk.
doi:10.1093/ije/dys164
PMCID: PMC3535877  PMID: 23148105
HIV; AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; mortality; cohort; heterogeneity; prognostic model; socio-economic status
20.  Underutilization of Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among HIV-Infected Patients 
Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events is underutilized in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected patients. As these patients are at increased risk for events compared with HIV-negative persons, interventions are needed to increase HIV provider awareness of and adherence to existing guidelines.
Background. Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) events compared with uninfected persons. However, little is known about HIV provider practices regarding aspirin (ASA) for primary prevention of CVD.
Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted among patients attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 HIV Clinic during 2010 to determine the proportion receiving ASA for primary prevention of CVD and identify factors associated with ASA prescription. Ten-year risk for CVD events was calculated for men aged 45–79 and women aged 55–79. The 2009 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines were used to determine those qualifying for primary CVD prevention.
Results. Among 397 patients who qualified to receive ASA (mean age, 52.2 years, 94% male, 36% African American), only 66 (17%) were prescribed ASA. In multivariable logistic regression analysis, diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR], 2.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28–5.27), hyperlipidemia (OR, 3.42; 95% CI, 1.55–7.56), and current smoking (OR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.03–3.41) were significantly associated with ASA prescription. Odds of ASA prescription more than doubled for each additional CVD-related comorbidity present among hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and smoking (OR, 2.13, 95% CI, 1.51–2.99).
Conclusions. In this HIV-infected cohort, fewer than 1 in 5 patients in need received ASA for primary CVD prevention. Escalating likelihood of ASA prescription with increasing CVD-related comorbidity count suggests that providers may be influenced more by co-occurrence of these diagnoses than by USPSTF guidelines. In the absence of HIV-specific guidelines, interventions to improve HIV provider awareness of and adherence to existing general population guidelines on CVD risk reduction are needed.
doi:10.1093/cid/cis752
PMCID: PMC3491860  PMID: 22942209
21.  Pain, Mood, and Substance Abuse in HIV: Implications for Clinic Visit Utilization, ART Adherence, and Virologic Failure 
Introduction
Co-occurring pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse are common in HIV-infected patients. Our objective was to investigate the relationship between pain, alone and in the context of mood disorders and substance abuse, on clinic utilization, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, and virologic suppression.
Methods
Pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse were assessed at the first visit. No-show and urgent visits were measured over a one-year period. Models were adjusted for age, race, sex, insurance status, CD4+ T-lymphocyte count, and HIV risk factor.
Results
Among 1521 participants, 509 (34%) reported pain, 239 (16%) had pain alone, 189 (13%) had pain and a mood disorder, and 30 (2%) had pain and substance abuse. In univariate models, participants with pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse had higher odds of a no-show visit than participants without these conditions [OR 1.4 (95% CI 1.1–1.8); OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.2–1.9); OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.4–2.8), respectively]. In the multivariable model, pain increased the odds of a no-show visit only in participants without substance abuse [OR 1.5 (95% CI 1.1–1.9)], and pain reduced the odds of a no-show visit in participants with substance abuse [OR 0.5 (95% CI 0.2–0.9), p for interaction=0.0022].
Conclusions
In this study, pain increased the odds of no-show visits, but only for participants without substance abuse. Because pain, mood disorders, and substance abuse are highly prevalent in HIV-infected patients, our findings have implications for HIV treatment success. Interventions that incorporate pain management may be important for improving health outcomes in patients living with HIV infection.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182662215
PMCID: PMC3459261  PMID: 22766967
HIV; Pain; Psychiatric Illness; Substance Abuse; ART Adherence; Health Care Utilization
22.  HIV infection and obesity: Where did all the wasting go? 
Antiviral therapy  2012;17(7):1281-1289.
Background
The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has led to dramatic changes in causes of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected individuals. As chronic diseases rates have increased in HIV+ populations, modifiable risk factors such as obesity have increased in importance. Our objective was to evaluate factors associated with weight change among patients receiving ART.
Methods
ART-naïve patients initiating therapy at the University of Alabama - Birmingham 1917 HIV/AIDS Clinic from 2000– 2008 were included. Body Mass Index (BMI) was categorized as: underweight (<18.5), normal weight (18.5–24.9), overweight (25–29.9) and obese (≥30). Linear regression models were used to evaluate overall change in BMI and factors associated with increased BMI category 24 months following ART initiation.
Results
Among 681 patients, the mean baseline BMI was 25.4 ± 6.1; 44% of patients were overweight/obese. At 24 months, 20% of patients moved from normal to overweight/obese or overweight to obese BMI categories. Greater increases in BMI were observed in patients with baseline CD4 count < 50 cells/μl (3.4 ± 4.1, P<0.01) and boosted protease inhibitor use (2.5±4.1 P=0.01), but did not account for all of the variation observed in weight change.
Conclusions
The findings that almost half of patients were overweight or obese at ART initiation, and 1 in 5 patients moved to a deleterious BMI category within 2 years of ART initiation are alarming. ART therapy provides only a modest contribution to weight gain in patients. Obesity represents a highly prevalent condition in patients with HIV infection and an important target for intervention.
doi:10.3851/IMP2348
PMCID: PMC3779137  PMID: 22951353
obesity; HIV; body mass index
23.  When to start antiretroviral therapy: as soon as possible 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:147.
Background
The debate regarding ‘When to Start’ antiretroviral therapy has raged since the introduction of zidovudine in 1987. Based on the entry criteria for the original Burroughs Wellcome 002 study, the field has been anchored to CD4 cell counts as the prime metric to indicate treatment initiation for asymptomatic individuals infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The pendulum has swung back and forth based mostly on the relative efficacy, toxicity and convenience of available regimens.
Discussion
In today’s world, several factors have converged that compel us to initiate therapy as soon as possible: 1) The biology of viral replication (1 to 10 billion viruses per day) strongly suggests that we should be starting early. 2) Resultant inflammation from unchecked replication is associated with earlier onset of multiple co-morbid conditions. 3) The medications available today are more efficacious and less toxic than years past. 4) Clinical trials have demonstrated benefits for all but the highest CD4 strata (>500 cells/μl). 5) Some cohort studies have demonstrated the clear benefit of antiretroviral therapy at any CD4 count and no cohort studies have demonstrated that early therapy is more detrimental than late therapy at the population level. 6) In addition to the demonstrated and inferred benefits to the individual patient, we now have evidence of a Public Health benefit from earlier intervention: treatment is prevention.
Summary
From a practical, common sense perspective we are talking about life-long therapy. Whether we start at a CD4 count of 732 cells/μl or 493 cells/μl, the patient will be on therapy for over 40 to 50 years. There does not seem to be much benefit in waiting and there likely is significant long-term harm. Do not wait. Treat early.
The counter-argument to this debate topic can be freely accessed here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/148.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-147
PMCID: PMC3682940  PMID: 23767762
HIV infection; CD4 lymphocyte count; When to start; Antiretroviral therapy; Early treatment
24.  Underutilization of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program: Associated Factors and Policy Implications 
Health Services Research  2011;46(3):982-995.
Background
The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides antiretroviral medications to low-income individuals with HIV infection.
Methods
A prospective cohort study of ADAP utilization, measured using medication possession ratio (MPR), was conducted during the 2008 calendar year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 HIV Clinic. Multivariable ordinal logistic regression evaluated factors associated with ADAP utilization.
Results
Among 245 patients, MPR quartiles (Q) were the following: Q1<69 percent, Q2 = 69–83 percent, Q3 = 84–93 percent, Q4>93 percent. In ordinal logistic regression, younger age (OR = 0.59 per 10 years; 95 percent CI = 0.44–0.79), nonwhite males (2.18; 1.18–4.04), lower CD4 count (2.79 for <200 cells/mm3; 1.44–5.43), and a history of alcohol abuse (2.11; 1.02–4.37) were associated with poor ADAP utilization.
Conclusions
One quarter of ADAP enrollees had MPR below 69 percent, a level well below that associated with optimal HIV treatment outcomes, indicating a need for programmatic interventions to improve ADAP utilization.
doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2010.01223.x
PMCID: PMC3097412  PMID: 21210795
HIV; adherence; public health
25.  Risk of Anal Cancer in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Individuals in North America 
In a large North American cohort study, anal cancer incidence rates were substantially higher for HIV-infected men who have sex with men, other men, and women compared with HIV-uninfected individuals. Rates increased from 1996–1999 to 2000–2003 but plateaued by 2004–2007.
Background. Anal cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), although few have evaluated rates separately for men who have sex with men (MSM), other men, and women. There are also conflicting data regarding calendar trends.
Methods. In a study involving 13 cohorts from North America with follow-up between 1996 and 2007, we compared anal cancer incidence rates among 34 189 HIV-infected (55% MSM, 19% other men, 26% women) and 114 260 HIV-uninfected individuals (90% men).
Results. Among men, the unadjusted anal cancer incidence rates per 100 000 person-years were 131 for HIV-infected MSM, 46 for other HIV-infected men, and 2 for HIV-uninfected men, corresponding to demographically adjusted rate ratios (RRs) of 80.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], 42.7–151.1) for HIV-infected MSM and 26.7 (95% CI, 11.5–61.7) for other HIV-infected men compared with HIV-uninfected men. HIV-infected women had an anal cancer rate of 30/100 000 person-years, and no cases were observed for HIV-uninfected women. In a multivariable Poisson regression model, among HIV-infected individuals, the risk was higher for MSM compared with other men (RR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.8–6.0), but no difference was observed comparing women with other men (RR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.5–2.2). In comparison with the period 2000–2003, HIV-infected individuals had an adjusted RR of 0.5 (95% CI, .3–.9) in 1996–1999 and 0.9 (95% CI, .6–1.2) in 2004–2007.
Conclusions. Anal cancer rates were substantially higher for HIV-infected MSM, other men, and women compared with HIV-uninfected individuals, suggesting a need for universal prevention efforts. Rates increased after the early antiretroviral therapy era and then plateaued.
doi:10.1093/cid/cir1012
PMCID: PMC3297645  PMID: 22291097

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