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1.  Gender Roles and Mental Health in Women With and at Risk for HIV 
Psychology of women quarterly  2014;38(3):311-326.
Predominantly low-income and African American women from the same community, HIV-infected (n = 100; HIV+) and uninfected (n = 42; HIV−), were assessed on reported gender roles in sexual and other close relationships—including levels of self-silencing, unmitigated communion, and sexual relationship power—at a single recent study visit during 2008–2012. Recent gender roles were investigated in relation to depressive symptoms and health-related quality of life assessed both at a single visit during 2008–2012 and averaged over semiannual visits (for depressive symptoms) and annual visits (for quality of life) occurring between 1994 and 2012. Compared to HIV− women, HIV+ women reported significantly higher levels of several aspects of self-silencing, unmitigated communion, and multi-year averaged depressive symptoms as well as lower levels of sexual relationship power and recent and multi-year averaged quality of life. For both HIV+ and HIV− women, higher self-silencing and unmitigated communion significantly related to recent or multi-year averaged higher depressive symptoms and lower quality of life. Intervention strategies designed to increase self-care and self-advocacy in the context of relationships could potentially minimize depressive symptoms and enhance quality of life in women with and at risk for HIV.
PMCID: PMC4258411  PMID: 25492991
sex roles; HIV; depression; quality of life; silencing the self; communion; health; empowerment
2.  Facilitators and Barriers to Discussing HIV Prevention with Adolescents: Perspectives of HIV-Infected Parents 
American journal of public health  2013;103(8):1468-1475.
We examined HIV-infected parents’ conversations about HIV prevention with their uninfected children, including what facilitated or hindered communication.
Parents with HIV/AIDS (n|=|90) who had children aged 10 to 18 years were recruited for a mixed method study from 2009 to 2010. Interviews assessed facilitators and barriers to discussing HIV prevention. A questionnaire identified the frequency and content of conversations, parental confidence level, and perceived importance of discussing preventive topics.
Eighty-one percent of parents reported “sometimes” or “often” communicating about HIV prevention. A subset of parents found these conversations difficult; 44% indicated their desire for support. Facilitators to communication included utilizing support, focusing on the benefits of talking, and having a previous relationship with one's child. Barriers to discussions included fear of negative consequences, living in denial, and lacking a parental role model who discussed safer sex. Parents varied as to how they believed their HIV status affected communication. Those who did not disclose their HIV status to their children reported less frequent communication; self-efficacy partially mediated this relationship.
Findings highlighted the need for communication skills training that support HIV-infected parents in their efforts to discuss HIV-related information with adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3908917  PMID: 23763390
3.  Concomitant anal and cervical human papillomavirusV infections and intraepithelial neoplasia in HIV-infected and uninfected women 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(11):1743-1751.
To assess factors associated with concomitant anal and cervical human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in HIV-infected and at-risk women.
A study nested within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a multi-center longitudinal study of HIV-1 infection in women conducted in six centers within the United States.
Four hundred and seventy HIV-infected and 185 HIV-uninfected WIHS participants were interviewed and examined with anal and cervical cytology testing. Exfoliated cervical and anal specimens were assessed for HPV using PCR and type-specific HPV testing. Women with abnormal cytologic results had colposcopy or anoscopy-guided biopsy of visible lesions. Logistic regression analyses were performed and odds ratios (ORs) measured the association for concomitant anal and cervical HPV infection.
One hundred and sixty-three (42%) HIV-infected women had detectable anal and cervical HPV infection compared with 12 (8%) of the HIV-uninfected women (P <0.001). HIV-infected women were more likely to have the same human papillomavirus (HPV) genotype in the anus and cervix than HIV-uninfected women (18 vs. 3%, P <0.001). This was true for both oncogenic (9 vs. 2%, P = 0.003) and nononcogenic (12 vs. 1%, P <0.001) HPV types. In multivariable analysis, the strongest factor associated with both oncogenic and nononcogenic concomitant HPV infection was being HIV-infected (OR = 4.6 and OR = 16.9, respectively). In multivariable analysis of HIV-infected women, CD4+ cell count of less than 200 was the strongest factor associated with concomitant oncogenic (OR = 4.2) and nononcogenic (OR = 16.5) HPV infection.
HIV-infected women, particularly those women with low CD4+ cell counts, may be good candidates for HPV screening and monitoring for both cervical and anal disease
PMCID: PMC3917497  PMID: 23803793
anal intraepithelial neoplasia; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; HIV-infection; human papillomavirus; women
4.  Free Glycogen in Vaginal Fluids Is Associated with Lactobacillus Colonization and Low Vaginal pH 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102467.
Lactobacillus dominates the lower genital tract microbiota of many women, producing a low vaginal pH, and is important for healthy pregnancy outcomes and protection against several sexually transmitted pathogens. Yet, factors that promote Lactobacillus remain poorly understood. We hypothesized that the amount of free glycogen in the lumen of the lower genital tract is an important determinant of Lactobacillus colonization and a low vaginal pH.
Free glycogen in lavage samples was quantified. Pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene was used to identify microbiota from 21 African American women collected over 8–11 years.
Free glycogen levels varied greatly between women and even in the same woman. Samples with the highest free glycogen had a corresponding median genital pH that was significantly lower (pH 4.4) than those with low glycogen (pH 5.8; p<0.001). The fraction of the microbiota consisting of Lactobacillus was highest in samples with high glycogen versus those with low glycogen (median = 0.97 vs. 0.05, p<0.001). In multivariable analysis, having 1 vs. 0 male sexual partner in the past 6 months was negatively associated, while BMI ≥30 was positively associated with glycogen. High concentrations of glycogen corresponded to higher levels of L. crispatus and L. jensenii, but not L. iners.
These findings show that free glycogen in genital fluid is associated with a genital microbiota dominated by Lactobacillus, suggesting glycogen is important for maintaining genital health. Treatments aimed at increasing genital free glycogen might impact Lactobacillus colonization.
PMCID: PMC4102502  PMID: 25033265
5.  Critical Consciousness, Racial and Gender Discrimination, and HIV Disease Markers in African American Women with HIV 
AIDS and behavior  2014;18(7):1237-1246.
Critical consciousness, the awareness of social oppression, is important to investigate as a buffer against HIV disease progression in HIV-infected African American women in the context of experiences with discrimination. Critical consciousness comprises several dimensions, including social group identification, discontent with distribution of social power, rejection of social system legitimacy, and a collective action orientation. The current study investigated self-reported critical consciousness as a moderator of perceived gender and racial discrimination on HIV viral load and CD4+ cell count in 67 African American HIV-infected women. Higher critical consciousness was found to be related to higher likelihood of having CD4+ counts over 350 and lower likelihood of detectable viral load when perceived racial discrimination was high, as revealed by multiple logistic regressions that controlled for highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence. Multiple linear regressions showed that at higher levels of perceived gender and racial discrimination, women endorsing high critical consciousness had a larger positive difference between nadir CD4+ (lowest pre-HAART) and current CD4+ count than women endorsing low critical consciousness. These findings suggest that raising awareness of social oppression to promote joining with others to enact social change may be an important intervention strategy to improve HIV outcomes in African American HIV-infected women who report experiencing high levels of gender and racial discrimination.
PMCID: PMC4010552  PMID: 24077930
Critical consciousness; HIV; African American women; Protective factor; Perceived racial discrimination; Perceived gender discrimination
6.  Alcohol consumption trajectory patterns in adult women with HIV infection 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(5):1705-1712.
HIV-infected women with excessive alcohol consumption are at risk for adverse health outcomes, but little is known about their long-term drinking trajectories. This analysis included longitudinal data, obtained from 1996–2006, from 2791 women with HIV from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Among these women, the proportion in each of five distinct drinking trajectories was: continued heavy drinking (3%), reduction from heavy to non-heavy drinking (4%), increase from non-heavy to heavy drinking (8%), continued non-heavy drinking (36%), and continued non-drinking (49%). Depressive symptoms, other substance use (crack/cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco), co-infection with HCV, and heavy drinking prior to enrollment were associated with trajectories involving future heavy drinking. In conclusion, many women with HIV change their drinking patterns over time. Clinicians and those providing alcohol-related interventions might target those with depression, current use of tobacco or illicit drugs, HCV infection, or a previous history of drinking problems.
PMCID: PMC3534826  PMID: 22836592
Alcohol consumption; women; HIV-infection; trajectories
7.  Vitamin D and Insulin Resistance in Non-Diabetic Women's Interagency HIV Study Participants 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2013;27(6):320-325.
We explored the relationship between vitamin D levels and insulin resistance (IR) among 1082 nondiabetic (754 HIV-infected) women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV study (WIHS), a large and well-established cohort of HIV infected and uninfected women in the US. Vitamin D levels 20–29 ng/mL were considered insufficient and <20 ng/mL deficient. IR was estimated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) and a clinically significant cut-off ≥2.6 was used for HOMA-IR. In the unadjusted analysis, women who were vitamin D insufficient or deficient were 1.62 (95% CI: 1.01–2.61, p=0.05) and 1.70 (95% CI: 1.11–2.60, p=0.02) times more likely to have HOMA values≥2.6 compared to women with sufficient vitamin D. The association did not remain significant after adjustment for factors associated with IR. Among the 754 HIV-infected women, current PI use (OR 1.61, 95% CI: 1.13–2.28, p=0.008) remained independently associated with HOMA ≥2.6 while vitamin D insufficiency (OR 1.80, 95% CI: 0.99–3.27, p=0.05) was marginally associated with HOMA ≥2.6 after adjustment. Ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, and hepatitis C status were independently associated with insulin resistance in HIV-infected and uninfected women. We found a marginally significant association between vitamin D insufficiency and insulin resistance among nondiabetic HIV-infected WIHS women.
PMCID: PMC3671624  PMID: 23675750
8.  HIV and Recent Illicit Drug Use Interact to Affect Verbal Memory in Women 
HIV infection and illicit drug use are each associated with diminished cognitive performance. This study examined the separate and interactive effects of HIV and recent illicit drug use on verbal memory, processing speed and executive function in the multicenter Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Participants included 952 HIV-infected and 443 HIV-uninfected women (mean age=42.8, 64% African-American). Outcome measures included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test - Revised (HVLT-R) and the Stroop test. Three drug use groups were compared: recent illicit drug users (cocaine or heroin use in past 6 months, n=140), former users (lifetime cocaine or heroin use but not in past 6 months, n=651), and non-users (no lifetime use of cocaine or heroin, n=604).
The typical pattern of recent drug use was daily or weekly smoking of crack cocaine. HIV infection and recent illicit drug use were each associated with worse verbal learning and memory (p's<.05). Importantly, there was an interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use such that recent illicit drug use (compared to non-use) negatively impacted verbal learning and memory only in HIV-infected women (p's <0.01). There was no interaction between HIV serostatus and illicit drug use on processing speed or executive function on the Stroop test.
The interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use on verbal learning and memory suggests a potential synergistic neurotoxicity that may affect the neural circuitry underlying performance on these tasks.
PMCID: PMC3628722  PMID: 23392462
9.  Risk of exposure to HIV differs according to catechol-o-methyltransferase Val158Met genotype 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(11):1779-1782.
The Met allele of the catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased cortical dopamine and risk behaviors including illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Therefore, we examined whether or not the distribution of the Val158Met genotype differed between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. We conducted an Armitage-Cochran Test and logistic regression to compare genotype frequencies between 1,848 HIV-infected and 612 HIV-uninfected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The likelihood of carrying one or two Met alleles was greater in HIV-infected women (61%) compared to HIV-uninfected women (54%), Z = −3.60, p < 0.001. We report the novel finding of an association between the Val158Met genotype and HIV serostatus that may be mediated through the impact of dopamine function on propensity for risk-taking.
PMCID: PMC3897122  PMID: 23807274
10.  The association between diet and physical activity on insulin resistance in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
To evaluate the association of diet and physical activity with insulin resistance (IR) in HIV-infected and uninfected women.
Cross sectional analyses of summary dietary measures and physical activity intensity scores obtained from women enrolled in the San Francisco (n=113) and Chicago (n=65) Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) sites. IR was estimated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR). Stepwise regression models assessed the association of diet and physical activity with HOMA-IR after adjustment for demographic, behavioral, and clinical factors.
Compared to HIV-uninfected women, HIV-infected women were older and more likely to have health insurance. In multivariable analysis including all women, being from San Francisco (p=0.005), having a higher mean body mass index (BMI, p<0.001), and a higher percent kilocalories from sweets (p=0.025) were associated with greater HOMA-IR; heavy intensity physical activity (p=0.006) and annual household income <$36,000 (p=0.002) was associated with a lower HOMA-IR. In analysis limited to HIV-infected women, having a higher BMI (p<0.001) and a history of protease inhibitor use (0.002) were significantly associated with higher HOMA-IR; heavy intensity activity (p=0.06) was marginally associated with lower HOMA-IR and being menopausal (p=0.05) was marginally associated with higher HOMA-IR.
Among urban women with or at risk for HIV-infection, heavy intensity physical activity was associated with lower HOMA-IR while higher percent kilocalories from sweets were associated with higher HOMA-IR. Given the overall health benefits of physical activity and a diet low on sugar, these behaviors should be encouraged whenever possible.
PMCID: PMC3529765  PMID: 23075914
HIV; HOMA-IR; insulin resistance; macronutrients; physical activity; women
11.  Medicinal and recreational marijuana use among HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Cohort (WIHS), 1994–2010 
Despite the major benefits of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) on HIV-related survival, there is an ongoing need to help alleviate medication side effects related to ART use. Initial studies suggest marijuana use may reduce HIV-related symptoms, but medical marijuana use among HIV-infected individuals has not been well described.
We evaluated trends in marijuana use and reported motivations for use among 2,776 HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) between October 1994 and March 2010. Predictors of any and daily marijuana use were explored in multivariate logistic regression models clustered by person using GEE. In 2009 participants were asked if their marijuana use was medical, “meaning prescribed by a doctor”, or recreational, or both.
Over the sixteen years of this study the prevalence of current marijuana use decreased significantly from 21% to 14%. In contrast, daily marijuana use almost doubled from 3.3% to 6.1% of all women, and from 18% to 51% of current marijuana users. Relaxation, appetite improvement, reduction of HIV-related symptoms, and social use were reported as common reasons for marijuana use. In 2009, most marijuana users reported either purely medicinal use (26%) or both medicinal and recreational usage (29%). Daily marijuana use was associated with higher CD4 cell count, quality of life, and older age. Demographic characteristics and risk behaviors were associated with current marijuana use overall, but were not predictors of daily use.
This study suggests that both recreational and medicinal marijuana use are relatively common among HIV-infected women in this U.S.
PMCID: PMC3508315  PMID: 23011399
marijuana; cannabis; HIV; medicinal
12.  Trends in Contraceptive Use Among Women With Human Immunodeficiency Virus 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2012;120(4):783-790.
To estimate trends in contraceptive use, especially long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) and condoms, among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive and HIV-seronegative women.
HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative women in a multicenter longitudinal cohort were interviewed semiannually between 1998 and 2010 about sexual behaviors and contraceptive use. Trends in contraceptive use by women aged 18–45 years who were at risk for unintended pregnancy but not trying to conceive were analyzed using generalized estimating equations.
Condoms were the dominant form of contraception for HIV-seropositive women and showed little change across time. Fewer than 15% of these women used no contraception. Between 1998 and 2010, LARC use rose among HIV-seronegative women from 4.8% (6/126) to 13.5% (19/141, p=0.02), but not significantly among seropositive women (0.9% (4/438) to 2.8% (6/213, p = 0.09). Use of highly effective contraceptives, including pills, patches, rings, injectable progestin, implants and intrauterine devices, ranged from 15.2% (53/348) in 1998 to 17.4% (37/213) in 2010 (p = 0.55). HIV-seronegative but not seropositive LARC users were less likely than nonusers to use condoms consistently (HR=0.51, 95% C.I. 0.32–0.81, p = 0.004 for seronegative women; HR = 1.09, 95% C.I. 0.96, 1.23 for seropositive women).
Although most HIV-seropositive women use contraception, they rely primarily on condoms and have not experienced the increase in LARC use seen among seronegative women. Strategies to improve simultaneous use of condoms and LARC are needed to minimize risk of unintended pregnancy as well as HIV transmission and acquisition of sexually transmitted infections.
PMCID: PMC3449062  PMID: 22996095
13.  Correction: Computational Modeling Reveals Distinct Effects of HIV and History of Drug Use on Decision-Making Processes in Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):10.1371/annotation/5a8e6fe0-623c-4d17-8781-9a0eadf67a43.
PMCID: PMC3770829  PMID: 24039690
14.  Correlating knowledge of cervical cancer prevention and human papillomavirus with compliance after colposcopy referral 
To assess the impact of knowledge of cervical cancer biology and prevention as well as noncognitive measures on compliance with colposcopy referral in a high risk population.
Participants in a U.S. cohort of women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and at risk comparison women completed behavior questionnaires and instruments measuring knowledge of cervical cancer prevention, depressive symptoms, trust in doctors, and perceived stress. Examinations including Pap tests also were conducted. Associations with compliance with resulting indicated colposcopy were assessed in multivariable models.
Of 326 women with indicated colposcopy, 222 (68%) were compliant with colposcopy referral and 104 (32%) noncompliant. In multivariable analysis, better colposcopy compliance was associated with less education (O.R. for compliance 2.24, 95% C.I. 1.12–4.51 vs more than high school), prior abnormal Pap (O.R. per prior abnormal Pap 1.08 95% C.I. 1.01–1.15), study site (O.R. for site with best vs worst compliance 16.1, 95% C.I. 2.91–88.6), and higher stress (O.R. for Perceived Stress Scale-10 score >16 vs lower 3.25, 95% C.I. 1.45–7.26).
Noncognitive factors and how sites manage abnormal Pap testing affect colposcopy compliance. Educational interventions alone are unlikely to improve colposcopy compliance in similar high-risk populations.
PMCID: PMC3760241  PMID: 22227841
HPV; cervical cancer prevention; Pap test; health education; perceived stress; HIV in women
15.  Computational Modeling Reveals Distinct Effects of HIV and History of Drug Use on Decision-Making Processes in Women 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e68962.
Drug users and HIV-seropositive individuals often show deficits in decision-making; however the nature of these deficits is not well understood. Recent studies have employed computational modeling approaches to disentangle the psychological processes involved in decision-making. Although such approaches have been used successfully with a number of clinical groups including drug users, no study to date has used computational modeling to examine the effects of HIV on decision-making. In this study, we use this approach to investigate the effects of HIV and drug use on decision-making processes in women, who remain a relatively understudied population.
Fifty-seven women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) were classified into one of four groups based on their HIV status and history of crack cocaine and/or heroin drug use (DU): HIV+/DU+ (n = 14); HIV+/DU− (n = 17); HIV−/DU+ (n = 14); and HIV−/DU− (n = 12). We measured decision-making with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and examined behavioral performance and model parameters derived from the best-fitting computational model of the IGT.
Although groups showed similar behavioral performance, HIV and DU exhibited differential relationship to model parameters. Specifically, DU was associated with compromised learning/memory and reduced loss aversion, whereas HIV was associated with reduced loss aversion, but was not related to other model parameters.
Results reveal that HIV and DU have differential associations with distinct decision-making processes in women. This study contributes to a growing line of literature which shows that different psychological processes may underlie similar behavioral performance in various clinical groups and may be associated with distinct functional outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3737214  PMID: 23950880
16.  An Investigation of the Possible Interaction between the Use of Vitamin C and Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) Adherence and Effectiveness in Treated HIV+ Women 
Our goal in this study was to examine how Vitamin C interacts with antiretroviral therapy in individuals with HIV. We specifically evaluated how Vitamin C impacts highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence and HAART effectiveness as adjudicated by HIV viral loads and CD4 cell counts. Women served as their own controls, comparing periods of Vitamin C usage with periods of non-usage.
An intra-individual, cross-sectional comparative study ‘nested’ in the WIHS observational cohort study
Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
Outcome Measures
Adherence, CD4 count and Viral load.
Our study population was drawn from 2,813 HIV+ participants who contributed 44,588 visits in WIHS from October, 1994 to April, 2009. Among them, there were 1,122 Vitamin C users with 4,954 total visits where use was reported. In the multivariate model adjusting for age, education, race, income, drug use, Vitamin C use order and depression score, there was a 44% increase in the odds of >=95% HAART adherence among participants during their period of Vitamin C use compared to when they were not using Vitamin C (OR=1.44; 95% CI=1.1–1.9; P-value=0.0179). There was an association with Vitamin C usage and CD4 counts on viral loads.
Vitamin C usage appears to be associated with improved adherence. Future Vitamin C studies should target specific HAART drugs, and prospective clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3351689  PMID: 22579434
17.  The Relationship Between Race and HIV-Distal Sensory Polyneuropathy in a Large Cohort of US Women 
Journal of the Neurological Sciences  2011;315(1-2):129-132.
HIV-distal sensory polyneuropathy (HIV-DSPN) is a common complication of HIV infection, yet race as a potential risk factor is not known.
Between April and October 2009, as part of the NIH Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), 1414 women, 973 of whom were HIV-infected, were clinically evaluated for peripheral neuropathy. Utilizing available clinical, laboratory, and sociodemographic variables, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis of factors associated with HIV-DSPN. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine factors independently associated with HIV-DSPN.
36% of HIV-infected women met our definition of HIV-DSPN. 41.3% of African Americans, 34.8% of Whites and 24.7% of Hispanics had DSPN. Age, Hepatitis C-co-infection, and diabetes were each significantly associated with HIV-DSPN. After controlling for age, diabetes, Hepatitis C co-infection, alcohol use, current dideoxy-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor use, current CD4 count, and plasma HIV viral load, HIV-DSPN was significantly associated with ethnicity; the odds ratio was 1.67 (p=0.001) in African-Americans compared to other racial groups.
The prevalence of HIV-DSPN in women was lower than reported in prior studies. The likelihood of HIV-DSPN was higher in African-Americans compared to other racial groups. HIV-DSPN was more common in those co-infected with Hepatitis C, older individuals, and diabetics. Further prospective studies are needed to explore the relationship between gender, race, and HIV-DSPN, and the mechanistic basis for racial differences.
PMCID: PMC3299869  PMID: 22123155
HIV-associated sensory polyneuropathy; African-Americans; race; women; gender; diabetes; Hepatitis C
18.  A C17T polymorphism in the mu opiate receptor is associated with quantitative measures of drug use in African-American women 
Addiction biology  2010;17(1):181-191.
Previous studies of the association of the C17T polymorphism of the mu opiate receptor gene with substance dependence compared cases with substance dependence to controls and usually found no significant association. However, the studies were limited by small sample size - no study had more than 12 subjects with the TT genotype, a genotype that is rare in white and Asian subjects. Moreover, drug use is not dichotomous but follows a spectrum from non-use to modest, intermittent use, to use several times daily. We asked whether the Kreek-McHugh-Schluger-Kellogg (KMSK) scales for alcohol, cocaine, opiates, and tobacco that quantify substance use during the time of a subject's maximal use might be more sensitive measures than dichotomous outcomes. We administered the KMSK scales and completed C17T genotyping on 1009 HIV-infected and 469 HIV-uninfected women in The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), an ongoing study of HIV in women. Forty-two of 697 African-American, 1 of 182 Hispanic, and none of 161 white women had the TT genotype. KMSK cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco scores were significantly higher in African-American women with the TT genotype (p =0.008, 0.0001, and 0.006 respectively) but opiate scores were not. Ordinal regression models controlling for HIV-serostatus, age, education, and income had odds ratios for the TT genotype for predicting alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, and opiates scores of 2.1 (p = 0.02), 2.4 (p = 0.0004), 2.0 (p = 0.03), and 1.9 (p = 0.07). We conclude that the TT genotype of OPRM1 may increase the risk of substance use and abuse.
PMCID: PMC3117061  PMID: 21070507
C17T polymorphism; HIV; mu opioid receptor gene; quantitative measures; substance abuse; substance dependence
19.  Risk factors for oral HPV infection among a high prevalence population of HIV-positive and at-risk HIV-negative adults 
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is an important risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer. Individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have higher oral HPV prevalence but the risk factors for oral HPV infection are not well understood for either HIV-positive or HIV-negative individuals.
This study was nested within the MACS (men) and WIHS (women) cohorts. Exfoliated oral epithelial cells were collected from 379 HIV-positive and 266 at-risk HIV-negative individuals using a rinse and gargle with Scope™ mouthwash. Samples were tested for 36 types of HPV DNA using PGMY09/11 consensus primers and reverse line blot hybridization. Risk factors for oral HPV infection were explored using logistic regression with generalized estimating equations (GEE) in this cross-sectional analysis.
Prevalent oral HPV infection was common (34%), including HPV16 infection in 5.7% of participants. HIV-positive individuals had increased odds of prevalent oral HPV infection compared to HIV-negative individuals (aOR=2.1, 95%CI=1.6–2.8). Risk factors for prevalent oral HPV differed in HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants. Among HIV-negative individuals, higher number of recent oral sex or rimming partners were strong risk factors for prevalent oral HPV infection (each p-trend<0.01). In contrast, among HIV-positive individuals lower CD4 T-cell count (p-trend<0.001) and higher number of lifetime sexual partners (p-trend=0.03) were strong risk factors.
Oral HPV prevalence was elevated in HIV-positive individuals after controlling for differences in cigarette smoking and sexual behavior, supporting the possibility that HIV may affect the natural history of oral HPV.
Immunosuppression may contribute to increased persistence or progression of oral HPV infection.
PMCID: PMC3280125  PMID: 22045700
Oral HPV; HIV; risk factors; Head and Neck/Oral Cancer; Epidemiology; Infections and the etiology of cancer, Diet, Alcohol, Smoking, and other Lifestyle Factors; Biomarkers of Human Exposure to carcinogens and DNA damaging agents; DNA tumor viruses
20.  Perinatal Depressive Symptoms in HIV-Infected Versus HIV-Uninfected Women: A Prospective Study from Preconception to Postpartum 
Journal of Women's Health  2011;20(9):1287-1295.
Depression is common among HIV-infected women, predicts treatment nonadherence, and consequently may impact vertical transmission of HIV. We report findings from a study evaluating preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum depressive symptoms in HIV-infected vs. at-risk, HIV-uninfected women.
We examined the prevalence and predictors of elevated perinatal (i.e., pregnancy and/or postpartum) depressive symptoms using a Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) scale score of ≥16 in 139 HIV-infected and 105 HIV-uninfected women (62% African American) from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
The prevalence of elevated perinatal depressive symptoms did not differ by HIV serostatus (HIV-infected 44%, HIV-uninfected 50%, p=0.44). Among HIV-infected women, the strongest predictor of elevated symptoms was preconception depression (odds ratio [OR] 5.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.67-12.19, p<0.001); crack, cocaine, and/or heroin use during preconception was marginally significant (OR 3.10, 95% CI 0.96-10.01, p=0.06). In the overall sample, additional significant predictors of perinatal depression included having multiple sex partners preconception (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.12-4.32, p=0.02), use of preconception mental health services (OR 2.51, 95% CI 1.03-6.13, p=0.04), and not graduating from high school (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.06-3.46, p=0.03).
Elevated perinatal depressive symptoms are common among HIV-infected and at-risk HIV-uninfected women. Depressive symptoms before pregnancy were the strongest predictor of perinatal symptoms. Findings underscore the importance of early and ongoing assessment and treatment to ensure low vertical transmission rates and improving postpregnancy outcomes for mothers and children.
PMCID: PMC3168970  PMID: 21732738
21.  Vitamin D deficiency in HIV-infected and un-infected women in the US 
Vitamin D deficiency is of increasing concern in HIV-infected persons, because of its reported association with a number of negative health outcomes that are common in HIV. We undertook this study to determine the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D deficiency among a nationally representative cohort of middle-aged, ethnically diverse HIV-infected and uninfected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV study (WIHS).
Vitamin D testing was performed by Quest Diagnostics on frozen sera using the liquid chromatography/mass spectroscopy (LC-MS) method. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as 25 (OH) D ≤20 ng/ml. Comparisons of continuous and categorical characteristics among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women were made by Wilcoxon tests and Pearson chi-squared tests, respectively.
1778 women (1268 HIV+) were studied. 63% had vitamin D deficiency (60% HIV +vs. 72% HIV−; p<0.001). Multivariable predictors of Vitamin D Deficiency were being African American (AOR 3.02), Hispanic (AOR 1.40), Body mass index (AOR 1.43), Age (AOR 0.84), HIV+ (AOR 0.76), Glomerular filtration rate <90/ml/min (AOR 0.94) and WIHS site; Los Angeles (AOR 0.66), Chicago (AOR 0.63). In the HIV+ women multivariate predictors were; undetectable HIVRNA (AOR 0.69), CD4 50–200 cells/mm3 (AOR 1.60), CD4 <50 cells/mm3 (AOR 1.94) and recent Protease Inhibitor use (AOR 0.67).
In this study of over 1700 women in the US, most women with or without HIV infection had low vitamin D levels and African American women had the highest rates of Vitamin D deficiency. An understanding of the role that vitamin D deficiency plays in non-AIDS related morbidities is planned for investigation in WIHS.
PMCID: PMC3431159  PMID: 21471818
Vitamin D; Vitamin D Deficiency; HIV infected; HIV uninfected
22.  Short-term Garlic Supplementation and Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence, CD4+ Cell Counts, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Viral Load 
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected individuals frequently have consumed garlic, a popular complementary supplement. Researchers rarely have studied garlic’s association with antiretroviral therapies, however, even though that association is very relevant clinically.
To examine associations of supplemental use of garlic with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) adherence level and HAART effectiveness (HIV viral load and CD4+ cell counts) in HIV-infected women.
The research team carried out a self-controlled, longitudinal study nested within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The team used a paired study design that allowed participants to serve as their own controls. The team first identified all of the study’s visits in which the participant self-reported the use of a garlic supplement since her last visit (index visit). Then for each index visit, the team identified a matching visit (a control visit) using the following criteria: (a) the visit must be one for the same participant in which that participant reported no garlic supplementation; (b) the visit must immediately precede the index visit (less than 1 year apart); and (c) at the time of the control visit, the participant must have been using antiretroviral therapy identical to that used at the time of the index visit.
Participants were persons using garlic supplementation who already were participants in the WIHS.
Outcome Measures
The research team used a logistic regression model to examine the association between garlic supplementation and HAART adherence level. The team used a mixed linear model to examine the association of garlic supplementation with HIV viral load and CD4+ cell counts.
From October 1994 to April 2009, 390 HIV-infected women in the WIHS made 1112 visits at which they reported using garlic supplements. Seventy-seven HIV-infected women using HAART met the research team’s selection criteria and contributed 99 pairs of visits for the study. Among the women who used garlic supplements, 22% were 50 years and older; 58% were black and non-Hispanic; and 23% had less than a high-school education. Neither use of garlic supplementation nor reasons for using garlic supplements were significantly associated with the HAART adherence level, HIV viral load, or CD4+ cell counts; however, “use garlic as needed,” a potential marker of a disease state, was significantly associated with higher viral load (P = .0003).
Short-term garlic supplementation did not impact HAART adherence level, HIV viral load, and CD4+ cell counts.
PMCID: PMC3376904  PMID: 22516847
23.  Sexual Serosorting among Women with or at Risk of HIV Infection 
AIDS and behavior  2011;15(1):9-15.
Serosorting, the practice of selectively engaging in unprotected sex with partners of the same HIV serostatus, has been proposed as a strategy for reducing HIV transmission risk among men who have sex with men (MSM). However, there is a paucity of scientific evidence regarding whether women engage in serosorting. We analyzed longitudinal data on women’s sexual behavior with male partners collected in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study from 2001 to 2005. Serosorting was defined as an increasing trend of unprotected anal or vaginal sex (UAVI) within seroconcordant partnerships over time, more frequent UAVI within seroconcordant partnerships compared to non-concordant partnerships, or having UAVI only with seroconcordant partners. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were used to examine the associations between serostatus partnerships and UAVI among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. The study sample consisted of 1,602 HIV-infected and 664 HIV-uninfected women. Over the follow-up period, the frequency of seroconcordant partnerships increased for HIV-uninfected women but the prevalence of UAVI within seroconcordant partnerships remained stable. UAVI was reported more frequently within HIV seroconcordant partnerships than among serodiscordant or unknown serostatus partnerships, regardless of the participant’s HIV status or types of partners. Among women with both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected partners, 41% (63 HIV-infected and 9 HIV-uninfected) were having UAVI only with seroconcordant partners. Our analyses suggest that serosorting is occurring among both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women in this cohort.
PMCID: PMC2987377  PMID: 20490909
HIV; Unprotected sex; Serosorting; Risk reduction; Condom use
24.  Impact of stress and depression on the frequency of squamous intraepithelial lesions 
To explore previously reported associations between cervical squamous lesions and psychological measures of stress and depression.
In a multicenter cohort study, HIV infected and seronegative comparison women had Pap tests and completed self-report questionnaires including the Perceived Stress Scale-10 (PSS), which measures perceived stress; the PTSD Civilian Symptom Checklist (PCL-C), which measures symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder; and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), which measures depressive symptoms.
Median scores were 13 (range 0–38) for the PSS, 24 (range 17–85) for the PCL-C, and 8 (range 0–57), for the CES-D, indicating moderate stress and minimal depression. For PSS, compared to women in the lowest tertile of reported stress, O.R. for SIL was 0.88 (95% C.I. 0.50–1.54) for women in the middle tertile and 0.96 (95% C.I. 0.54–1.68) for women in the highest tertile. For PCL-C, compared to women in the lowest tertile of PTSD symptoms, O.R. for SIL was 0.79 (95% C.I. 0.43–1.41) for women in the middle tertile and 1.17 (95% C.I. 0.68–2.01) for women in the highest tertile. SIL rates were similar for CES-D scores ≥16 (compared to women with lower scores O.R. 1.41, 95% C.I. 0.88–2.26) and ≥ 23 (O.R. 1.39, 95% C.I. 0.81–2.40). In multivariable analysis including number of sexual partners, age, income, ethnicity, and serostatus, stress as measured by PSS and PCL-C, and depressive symptoms as measured by CES-D remained unassociated with SIL.
We found no evidence that stress and depression affect the prevalence of cervical squamous lesions.
PMCID: PMC3084664  PMID: 21192176
stress; depression; cervical lesion; Papanicolaou test
25.  Changes in Knowledge of Cervical Cancer Prevention and Human Papillomavirus Among Women With Human Immunodeficiency Virus: 2006-2008 
Obstetrics and gynecology  2010;116(4):941-947.
To estimate changes in high risk women’s knowledge of cervical cancer prevention, human papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV vaccination since introduction and marketing of HPV vaccines.
At study visits in 2006 and 2008, women with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and at-risk comparison women in a multicenter U.S. cohort study completed 44-item self-report questionnaires exploring their knowledge of cervical cancer prevention, HPV, and HPV vaccination. Results from 2006 were compared to those obtained in 2008. Knowledge scores were correlated with demographic variables, measures of education and attention, and medical factors. Significant associations were assessed in multivariable models.
HIV-seropositive women had higher knowledge scores than seronegative women at baseline (13.2 +/− 5.7 vs 11.8 +/− 6.0, P = 0.0002) and follow-up (14.1 +/− 5.3 vs 13.2 +/− 5.5, P = 0.01), but the change in scores was similar (0.9 +/− 5.3 vs 1.5 +/− 5.5, P = 0.13). Knowledge that cervical cancer is caused by a virus rose significantly (P = 0.005), but only to 24%. Belief that cervical cancer is preventable only rose from 52% to 55% (P = 0.04), but more than 90% of women in both periods believed regular Pap testing was important. In ANCOVA models, higher baseline score, younger age, higher education level, higher income, and former- as opposed to never-drug users, but not HIV status, were associated with improved knowledge.
High-risk women’s understanding of cervical cancer and HPV has improved, but gaps remain. Improvement has been weakest for less-educated and lower-income women.
PMCID: PMC3248790  PMID: 20859159

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