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1.  Factors Related to Increasing Prevalence of Resistance to Ciprofloxacin and Other Antimicrobial Drugs in Neisseria gonorrhoeae, United States 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(8):1290-1297.
What would you do if you had a sexually transmitted disease that was untreatable with antibiotics? That is the situation we may be heading toward. In the United States, gonorrhea is the second most common reportable infection. Over the years, the organism that causes it, N. gonorrhoeae, has acquired resistance to several classes of antibiotics including, most recently, the fluoroquinolones. In fact, widespread resistance led CDC to stop recommending fluoroquinolones for gonorrhea treatment in 2007. Today, cephalosporin-based combination therapy is the last remaining option currently recommended for gonorrhea treatment. Understanding of the causes of drug resistance is needed so that control measures can be improved and the effectiveness of the few remaining drugs can be maintained. This article investigates possible causes for the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant N. gonorrhoeae that occurred several years ago. Fluoroquinolone-resistant strains spread in the United States in the late 1990s and spread more rapidly among men who have sex with men (MSM) than among heterosexual men. One possible explanation for the rise in drug resistance, especially among heterosexuals, is acquisition of resistant gonorrhea through travel. Certain drug-resistant strains of N. gonorrhoeae, particularly the multidrug resistant strains (also resistant to penicillin and tetracycline) circulating among MSM, seemed to be able to reach high prevalence levels through domestic transmission, rather than through frequent importation. After resistance emerged in a geographic area, resistant strains appeared among MSM and heterosexuals within several months. When resistance is detected in either MSM or heterosexuals, prevention efforts should be directed toward both populations.
Using data from the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project, we studied changes in ciprofloxacin resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates in the United States during 2002–2007. Compared with prevalence in heterosexual men, prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae infections showed a more pronounced increase in men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly through an increase in prevalence of strains also resistant to tetracycline and penicillin. Moreover, that multidrug resistance profile among MSM was negatively associated with recent travel. Across the surveillance project sites, first appearance of ciprofloxacin resistance in heterosexual men was positively correlated with such resistance for MSM. The increase in prevalence of ciprofloxacin resistance may have been facilitated by use of fluoroquinolones for treating gonorrhea and other conditions. The prominence of multidrug resistance suggests that using other classes of antimicrobial drugs for purposes other than treating gonorrhea helped increase the prevalence of ciprofloxacin-resistant strains that are also resistant to those drugs.
PMCID: PMC3414012  PMID: 22840274
Neisseria gonorrhoeae; antimicrobial resistance; men who have sex with men; multidrug resistance; MSM; bacteria; gonorrhea; United States; ciproflaxin; luoroquinolones
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC3905755  PMID: 24253247
sex; atazanavir; efavirenz; abacavir; tenofovir
3.  Myocardial electrotonic response to submaximal exercise in dogs with healed myocardial infarctions: evidence for β-adrenoceptor mediated enhanced coupling during exercise testing 
Introduction: Autonomic neural activation during cardiac stress testing is an established risk-stratification tool in post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients. However, autonomic activation can also modulate myocardial electrotonic coupling, a known factor to contribute to the genesis of arrhythmias. The present study tested the hypothesis that exercise-induced autonomic neural activation modulates electrotonic coupling (as measured by myocardial electrical impedance, MEI) in post-MI animals shown to be susceptible or resistant to ventricular fibrillation (VF).
Methods: Dogs (n = 25) with healed MI instrumented for MEI measurements were trained to run on a treadmill and classified based on their susceptibility to VF (12 susceptible, 9 resistant). MEI and ECGs were recorded during 6-stage exercise tests (18 min/test; peak: 6.4 km/h @ 16%) performed under control conditions, and following complete β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) blockade (propranolol); MEI was also measured at rest during escalating β-AR stimulation (isoproterenol) or overdrive-pacing.
Results: Exercise progressively increased heart rate (HR) and reduced heart rate variability (HRV). In parallel, MEI decreased gradually (enhanced electrotonic coupling) with exercise; at peak exercise, MEI was reduced by 5.3 ± 0.4% (or -23 ± 1.8Ω, P < 0.001). Notably, exercise-mediated electrotonic changes were linearly predicted by the degree of autonomic activation, as indicated by changes in either HR or in HRV (P < 0.001). Indeed, β-AR blockade attenuated the MEI response to exercise while direct β-AR stimulation (at rest) triggered MEI decreases comparable to those observed during exercise; ventricular pacing had no significant effects on MEI. Finally, animals prone to VF had a significantly larger MEI response to exercise.
Conclusions: These data suggest that β-AR activation during exercise can acutely enhance electrotonic coupling in the myocardium, particularly in dogs susceptible to ischemia-induced VF.
PMCID: PMC4318283
electrotonic coupling; β-adrenoceptor stimulation; exercise; arrhythmic risk; myocardial infarction
4.  Case Management: Steadfast Resource for Addressing Linkage to Care and Prevention with Hospitalized HIV-Infected Crack Users 
Interviews were conducted among HIV-positive inpatients in Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia to examine whether having a case manager was associated with improved outcomes. We explored whether current use of a case manager was associated with unprotected sex, HIV care, use of antiretroviral medications, and referral to case management at time of diagnosis. Outcomes among patients who received case management were compared to those without a case manager. Participants with a current case manager were significantly more likely to take HIV medications, have obtained HIV care within the past six months, and have been referred to case management when first diagnosed. They were also significantly less likely to engage in unprotected sex within the last six months. Interventions that link HIV positive patients with a case manager may improve HIV health-seeking behaviors and reduce sexual risk engagement which may lead to improved clinical results.
PMCID: PMC4307800  PMID: 25635176
HIV Case Management; Drug use among PLWH; HIV Care; ART Adherence
5.  Nondisclosure of HIV Status in a Clinical Trial Setting: Antiretroviral Drug Screening Can Help Distinguish Between Newly Diagnosed and Previously Diagnosed HIV Infection 
In The HIV Prevention Trials Network 061 study, 155 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected men reported no prior HIV diagnosis; 83 of those men had HIV RNA levels of <1000 copies/mL at enrollment. Antiretroviral drug testing revealed that 65 of the 83 (78.3%) men were on antiretroviral treatment. Antiretroviral drug testing can help distinguish between newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3864502  PMID: 24092804
HIV; antiretroviral; self-report; MSM; new diagnosis
6.  Reduction of early reperfusion injury with the mitochondria-targeting peptide Bendavia 
We recently showed that Bendavia, a novel mitochondria-targeting peptide, reduced infarction and no-reflow across several experimental models. The purpose of this study was to determine the therapeutic timing and mechanism of action that underlie Bendavia’s cytoprotective property. In rabbits exposed to in vivo ischemia/reperfusion (30/180 min), Bendavia administered 20 min prior to reperfusion (0.05mg/kg/hr, i.v.) reduced myocardial infarct size by ~50% when administered for either 1 or 3 hours of reperfusion. However, when Bendavia perfusion began just 10 min after the onset of reperfusion, the protection against infarction and no–reflow was completely lost, indicating that the mechanism of protection is occurring early in reperfusion. Experiments in isolated mouse liver mitochondria found no discernible effect of Bendavia on blocking the permeability transition pore, and studies in isolated heart mitochondria showed no effect of Bendavia on respiratory rates. As Bendavia significantly lowered reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels in isolated heart mitochondria, the ROS-scavenging capacity of Bendavia was compared to well-known ROS scavengers using in vitro (cell-free) systems that enzymatically generate ROS. Across doses ranging from 1nM to 1mM, Bendavia showed no discernible ROS-scavenging properties, clearly differentiating itself from prototypical scavengers. In conclusion, Bendavia is a promising candidate to reduce cardiac injury when present at onset of reperfusion, but not after reperfusion has already commenced. Given that both infarction and no-reflow are related to increased cellular ROS, Bendavia’s protective mechanism of action likely involves reduced ROS generation (as opposed to augmented scavenging) by endothelial and myocyte mitochondria.
PMCID: PMC4103197  PMID: 24288396
mitochondria; reactive oxygen species; reperfusion; heart; peptide
We examined parameters of sexual partnerships, including respondents’ participation in concurrency, belief that their partner had concurrent partnerships (partners’ concurrency), and partnership intervals, among the 2,099 women in HIV Prevention Trials Network 064, a study of women at high risk for HIV infection, in ten US communities.
We analyzed baseline survey responses about partnership dates to determine prevalence of participants’ and partners’ concurrency, intervals between partnerships, knowledge of whether recent partner(s) had undergone HIV testing, and intercourse frequency during the preceding 6 months.
Prevalence of participants’ and partners’ concurrency was 40% and 36% respectively; 24% of respondents had both concurrent partnerships and non-monogamous partners. Among women with >1 partner and no concurrent partnerships themselves, the median gap between partners was one month. Multiple episodes of unprotected vaginal intercourse with >2 of their most recent partners was reported by 60% of women who had both concurrent partnerships and non-monogamous partners, 50% with only concurrent partners and no partners’ concurrency, and 33% with only partners’ concurrency versus 14% of women with neither type of concurrency (p<.0001). Women who had any involvement with concurrency were also more likely than women with no concurrency involvement to report lack of awareness of whether recent partners had undergone HIV testing (participants’ concurrency 41%, partners’ concurrency 40%, both participants’ and partners’ concurrency 48%, neither 17%; p<.0001).
These network patterns and short gaps between partnerships may create substantial opportunities for HIV transmission in this sample of women at high risk for HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC4172374  PMID: 24056163
8.  Early Warning Indicators for First-Line Virologic Failure Independent of Adherence Measures in a South African Urban Clinic 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2013;27(12):657-668.
We sought to develop individual-level Early Warning Indicators (EWI) of virologic failure (VF) for clinicians to use during routine care complementing WHO population-level EWI. A case-control study was conducted at a Durban clinic. Patients after≥5 months of first-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) were defined as cases if they had VF [HIV-1 viral load (VL)>1000 copies/mL] and controls (2:1) if they had VL≤1000 copies/mL. Pharmacy refills and pill counts were used as adherence measures. Participants responded to a questionnaire including validated psychosocial and symptom scales. Data were also collected from the medical record. Multivariable logistic regression models of VF included factors associated with VF (p<0.05) in univariable analyses. We enrolled 158 cases and 300 controls. In the final multivariable model, male gender, not having an active religious faith, practicing unsafe sex, having a family member with HIV, not being pleased with the clinic experience, symptoms of depression, fatigue, or rash, low CD4 counts, family recommending HIV care, and using a TV/radio as ART reminders (compared to mobile phones) were associated with VF independent of adherence measures. In this setting, we identified several key individual-level EWI associated with VF including novel psychosocial factors independent of adherence measures.
PMCID: PMC3868291  PMID: 24320011
9.  Dose-Dependent Hemodynamic, Biochemical, and Tissue Oxygen Effects of OC99 following Severe Oxygen Debt Produced by Hemorrhagic Shock in Dogs 
We determined the dose-dependent effects of OC99, a novel, stabilized hemoglobin-based oxygen-carrier, on hemodynamics, systemic and pulmonary artery pressures, surrogates of tissue oxygen debt (arterial lactate 7.2 ± 0.1 mM/L and arterial base excess −17.9 ± 0.5 mM/L), and tissue oxygen tension (tPO2) in a dog model of controlled severe oxygen-debt from hemorrhagic shock. The dose/rate for OC99 was established from a pilot study conducted in six bled dogs. Subsequently twenty-four dogs were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 6 per group) and administered: 0.0, 0.065, 0.325, or 0.65 g/kg of OC99 combined with 10 mL/kg lactated Ringers solution administered in conjunction with 20 mL/kg Hextend IV over 60 minutes. The administration of 0.325 g/kg and 0.65 g/kg OC99 produced plasma hemoglobin concentrations of 0.63 ± 0.01 and 1.11 ± 0.02 g/dL, respectively, improved systemic hemodynamics, enhanced tPO2, and restored lactate and base excess values compared to 0.0 and 0.065 g/kg OC99. The administration of 0.65 g/kg OC99 significantly elevated pulmonary artery pressure. Plasma hemoglobin concentrations of OC99 ranging from 0.3 to 1.1 g/dL, in conjunction with colloid based fluid resuscitation, normalized clinical surrogates of tissue oxygen debt, improved tPO2, and avoided clinically relevant increases in pulmonary artery pressure.
PMCID: PMC4227330  PMID: 25405028
11.  The Comparability of Men Who Have Sex With Men Recruited From Venue-Time-Space Sampling and Facebook: A Cohort Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(3):e37.
Recruiting valid samples of men who have sex with men (MSM) is a key component of the US human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) surveillance and of research studies seeking to improve HIV prevention for MSM. Social media, such as Facebook, may present an opportunity to reach broad samples of MSM, but the extent to which those samples are comparable with men recruited from venue-based, time-space sampling (VBTS) is unknown.
The objective of this study was to assess the comparability of MSM recruited via VBTS and Facebook.
HIV-negative and HIV-positive black and white MSM were recruited from June 2010 to December 2012 using VBTS and Facebook in Atlanta, GA. We compared the self-reported venue attendance, demographic characteristics, sexual and risk behaviors, history of HIV-testing, and HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevalence between Facebook- and VTBS-recruited MSM overall and by race. Multivariate logistic and negative binomial models estimated age/race adjusted ratios. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to assess 24-month retention.
We recruited 803 MSM, of whom 110 (34/110, 30.9% black MSM, 76/110, 69.1% white MSM) were recruited via Facebook and 693 (420/693, 60.6% black MSM, 273/693, 39.4% white MSM) were recruited through VTBS. Facebook recruits had high rates of venue attendance in the previous month (26/34, 77% among black and 71/76, 93% among white MSM; between-race P=.01). MSM recruited on Facebook were generally older, with significant age differences among black MSM (P=.02), but not white MSM (P=.14). In adjusted multivariate models, VBTS-recruited MSM had fewer total partners (risk ratio [RR]=0.78, 95% CI 0.64-0.95; P=.01) and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) partners (RR=0.54, 95% CI 0.40-0.72; P<.001) in the previous 12 months. No significant differences were observed in HIV testing or HIV/STI prevalence. Retention to the 24-month visit varied from 81% for black and 70% for white MSM recruited via Facebook, to 77% for black and 78% for white MSM recruited at venues. There was no statistically significant differences in retention between the four groups (log-rank P=.64).
VBTS and Facebook recruitment methods yielded similar samples of MSM in terms of HIV-testing patterns, and prevalence of HIV/STI, with no differences in study retention. Most Facebook-recruited men also attended venues where VTBS recruitment was conducted. Surveillance and research studies may recruit via Facebook with little evidence of bias, relative to VBTS.
PMCID: PMC4129125  PMID: 25048694
men who have sex with men, MSM; Facebook; venue-based time sampling; online MSM; social media recruitment of MSM
13.  Syphilis Treatment Response Among HIV-Discordant Couples in Zambia and Rwanda 
In 2 large human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–discordant couple cohorts in Africa, time to treatment response after penicillin therapy for a positive rapid plasma reagin test result was similar irrespective of HIV status. Despite effective therapy, serofast state and syphilis reinfection were common.
Background. Syphilis continues to be a common sexually transmitted infection, despite the availability of inexpensive and effective treatment. Infection in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–discordant couples is important because syphilis increases the risk of HIV acquisition. Current US treatment guidelines recommend 1 dose of benzathine penicillin for early syphilis, irrespective of HIV status, but data from coinfected patients are limited.
Methods. Retrospective analysis of 1321 individuals in 2 African HIV-discordant couple cohorts was performed. Cox proportional hazards analysis and multivariable modeling were used to assess predictors of serologic response to treatment at 180 days and 400 days. Modeling was performed for all episodes of positive rapid plasma reagin (RPR) test results and on a subset with higher RPR titers (≥1:4).
Results. A total of 1810 episodes of syphilis among 1321 individuals were treated with penicillin between 2002 and 2008. Although a positive RPR was more common in the HIV-infected partners, HIV infection did not impact the likelihood of serologic response to therapy (odds ratio [OR], 1.001; P = .995). By 400 days, 67% had responded to therapy, 27% were serofast, and 6.5% had documented reinfection. Prevalent infections were more likely to remain serofast than incident infections (33% vs 20% at 400 days).
Conclusions. In 2 HIV-serodiscordant couple cohorts in Africa, incident syphilis had a very good likelihood of response to penicillin therapy, irrespective of HIV infection. This supports current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention treatment guidelines. A high proportion of prevalent RPR-positive infections remain serofast despite treatment.
PMCID: PMC3658364  PMID: 23487377
HIV/AIDS; syphilis; discordant couples; Zambia; Rwanda
14.  HIV Acquisition Among Women From Selected Areas of the United States 
Annals of internal medicine  2013;158(1):10-18.
Women account for 23% of newly diagnosed HIV infections in the United States, but there are few recent, well-characterized cohorts of U.S. women in whom behavior characteristics and HIV acquisition have been well-described.
To evaluate HIV incidence and describe behaviors among U.S. women residing in areas of high HIV prevalence.
Multisite, longitudinal cohort of women who had HIV rapid testing and audio computer-assisted self-interviews at baseline and every 6 months for up to 12 months. ( NCT00995176)
10 urban and periurban communities with high HIV prevalence and poverty rates, located in the northeastern and southeastern United States.
Venue-based sampling was used to recruit women aged 18 to 44 years who recently had unprotected sex and had 1 or more additional personal or partner risk factors and no self-reported previous HIV diagnosis.
HIV prevalence and incidence, frequency of HIV risk behaviors, and health status perceptions.
Among 2099 high-risk women (85.9% black and 11.7% of Hispanic ethnicity), 32 (1.5%) were diagnosed with HIV infection at enrollment. Annual HIV incidence was 0.32% (95% CI, 0.14% to 0.74%). Older age, substance use, and knowing a partner had HIV were associated with HIV prevalence. Ten women died during the study (0.61% per year).
Longitudinal assessment of risk behaviors was limited to a maximum of 12 months. There were few incident HIV infections, precluding identification of characteristics predictive of HIV acquisition.
This study enrolled a cohort of women with HIV incidence substantially higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national estimate in the general population of U.S. black women. Concerted efforts to improve preventive health care strategies for HIV and overall health status are needed for similar populations.
PMCID: PMC4033695  PMID: 23277896
15.  Evaluation of multiple measures of antiretroviral adherence in the Eastern European country of Georgia 
There is little information on adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the Eastern European region. This prospective study evaluated multiple measures of adherence and their association with viral suppression among HIV patients in Georgia.
A prospective cohort study enrolled 100 consecutive antiretroviral-naïve adult (age ≥18 years) patients, who were followed for three months. Adherence was assessed by medication refill and three self-report measures (an AIDS Clinical Trial Group [ACTG] tool for four-day adherence, a visual analogue scale [VAS] and a rating task for 30-day adherence). The VAS represented a line anchored by 0 and 100% corresponding to the percentage of prescribed doses taken. The rating task asked patients to rate their ability to take all medications as prescribed, with responses categorized into six levels of adherence: very poor (0%), poor (20%), fair (40%), good (60%), very good (80%) and excellent (100%). Patients with adherence of ≥95% by medication refill, ACTG and VAS, and ≥80% by rating task, were defined as adherent.
Of 100 patients enrolled, eight had missing data and were excluded from analysis. Among the remaining 92 patients, the median age was 39 years, and 70% were men. Major modes of HIV acquisition were injection drug use (IDU; 47.3%) and heterosexual contact (44.1%). The proportions of adherent patients were as follows: 68% by medication refill, 90% by ACTG questionnaire, 38% by VAS and 42% by rating task. On average, four months after commencing ART, 52 (56.5%) patients had a viral load <400 copies/ml and 26 (28.3%) patients had a viral load <50 copies/ml. Of 43 persons with a history of IDU, 22 (51.2%) reached a viral load of <400 copies/ml. In multivariate analysis, only refill adherence was a statistically significant predictor of viral suppression of <400 copies/ml: the risk ratio was 1.7 (95% CI: 1.1–2.8). Refill adherence, VAS and rating task were associated with viral suppression of <50 copies/ml. Non-IDUs were twice as likely to achieve viral load <50 copies/ml compared to IDUs. Refill adherence had the largest area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve for predicting viral suppression.
Medication refill adherence was the strongest predictor of viral suppression. IDUs can achieve optimal virologic outcomes, but may require additional adherence support.
PMCID: PMC3983475  PMID: 24721464
antiretroviral therapy; adherence; Eastern Europe; injection drug use; viral suppression
16.  Understanding Racial HIV/STI Disparities in Black and White Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Multilevel Approach 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90514.
The reasons for black/white disparities in HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men have puzzled researchers for decades. Understanding reasons for these disparities requires looking beyond individual-level behavioral risk to a more comprehensive framework.
Methods and Findings
From July 2010-Decemeber 2012, 803 men (454 black, 349 white) were recruited through venue-based and online sampling; consenting men were provided HIV and STI testing, completed a behavioral survey and a sex partner inventory, and provided place of residence for geocoding. HIV prevalence was higher among black (43%) versus white (13% MSM (prevalence ratio (PR) 3.3, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.5–4.4). Among HIV-positive men, the median CD4 count was significantly lower for black (490 cells/µL) than white (577 cells/µL) MSM; there was no difference in the HIV RNA viral load by race. Black men were younger, more likely to be bisexual and unemployed, had less educational attainment, and reported fewer male sex partners, fewer unprotected anal sex partners, and less non-injection drug use. Black MSM were significantly more likely than white MSM to have rectal chlamydia and gonorrhea, were more likely to have racially concordant partnerships, more likely to have casual (one-time) partners, and less likely to discuss serostatus with partners. The census tracts where black MSM lived had higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and lower median income. They also had lower proportions of male-male households, lower male to female sex ratios, and lower HIV diagnosis rates.
Among black and white MSM in Atlanta, disparities in HIV and STI prevalence by race are comparable to those observed nationally. We identified differences between black and white MSM at the individual, dyadic/sexual network, and community levels. The reasons for black/white disparities in HIV prevalence in Atlanta are complex, and will likely require a multilevel framework to understand comprehensively.
PMCID: PMC3946498  PMID: 24608176
18.  Concomitant Socioeconomic, Behavioral, and Biological Factors Associated with the Disproportionate HIV Infection Burden among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men in 6 U.S. Cities 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87298.
American Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, but the factors associated with this concentrated epidemic are not fully understood.
Black MSM were enrolled in 6 US cities to evaluate a multi-component prevention intervention, with the current analysis focusing on the correlates of being newly diagnosed with HIV compared to being HIV-uninfected or previously diagnosed with HIV.
HPTN 061 enrolled 1553 Black MSM whose median age was 40; 30% self-identified exclusively as gay or homosexual, 29% exclusively as bisexual, and 3% as transgender. About 1/6th (16.2%) were previously diagnosed with HIV (PD); of 1263 participants without a prior HIV diagnosis 7.6% were newly diagnosed (ND). Compared to PD, ND Black MSM were younger (p<0.001); less likely to be living with a primary partner (p<0.001); more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.011) or chlamydia (p = 0.020). Compared to HIV-uninfected Black MSM, ND were more likely to report unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) with a male partner in the last 6 months (p<0.001); and to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.004), and urethral (p = 0.025) or rectal chlamydia (p<0.001). They were less likely to report female (p = 0.002) or transgender partners (p = 0.018). Multivariate logistic regression analyses found that ND Black MSM were significantly more likely than HIV-uninfected peers to be unemployed; have STIs, and engage in URAI. Almost half the men in each group were poor, had depressive symptoms, and expressed internalized homophobia.
ND HIV-infected Black MSM were more likely to be unemployed, have bacterial STIs and engage in URAI than other Black MSM. Culturally-tailored programs that address economic disenfranchisement, increase engagement in care, screen for STIs, in conjunction with safer sex prevention interventions, may help to decrease further transmission in this heavily affected community.
PMCID: PMC3909083  PMID: 24498067
19.  A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial of the 17D Yellow Fever Virus Vaccine Given in Combination with Immune Globulin or Placebo: Comparative Viremia and Immunogenicity 
We evaluated whether coadministration of the yellow fever (YF) virus vaccine with human immunoglobulin (Ig) that contained YF virus-neutralizing antibodies would reduce post-vaccination viremia without compromising immunogenicity and thus, potentially mitigate YF vaccine-associated adverse events. We randomized 80 participants to receive either YF vaccine and Ig or YF vaccine and saline placebo. Participants were followed for 91 days for safety and assessments of viremia and immunogenicity. There were no differences found between the two groups in the proportion of vaccinated participants who developed viremia, seroconversion, cluster of differentiation (CD)-8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses, and cytokine responses. These results argue against one putative explanation for the increased reporting of YF vaccine side effects in recent years (i.e., a change in travel clinic practice after 1996 when hepatitis A prophylaxis with vaccine replaced routine use of pre-travel Ig, thus potentially removing an incidental YF vaccine-attenuating effect of anti-YF virus antibodies present in Ig) ( identifier: NCT00254826).
PMCID: PMC3541731  PMID: 23208880
20.  Unusual Empyema 
PMCID: PMC3697655  PMID: 23785070
22.  Hepatitis C Virus Co-Infection Increases the Risk of Anti-Tuberculosis Drug-Induced Hepatotoxicity among Patients with Pulmonary Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83892.
The country of Georgia has a high prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
To determine whether HCV co-infection increases the risk of incident drug-induced hepatitis among patients on first-line anti-TB drug therapy.
Prospective cohort study; HCV serology was obtained on all study subjects at the time of TB diagnosis; hepatic enzyme tests (serum alanine aminotransferase [ALT] activity) were obtained at baseline and monthly during treatment.
Among 326 study patients with culture-confirmed TB, 68 (21%) were HCV co-infected, 14 (4.3%) had chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (hepatitis B virus surface antigen positive [HBsAg+]), and 6 (1.8%) were HIV co-infected. Overall, 19% of TB patients developed mild to moderate incident hepatotoxicity. In multi-variable analysis, HCV co-infection (adjusted Hazards Ratio [aHR]=3.2, 95% CI=1.6-6.5) was found to be an independent risk factor for incident anti-TB drug-induced hepatotoxicity. Survival analysis showed that HCV co-infected patients developed hepatitis more quickly compared to HCV seronegative patients with TB.
A high prevalence of HCV co-infection was found among patients with TB in Georgia. Drug-induced hepatotoxicity was significantly associated with HCV co-infection but severe drug-induced hepatotoxicity (WHO grade III or IV) was rare.
PMCID: PMC3868578  PMID: 24367617
23.  HIV and Menopause: A Systematic Review of the Effects of HIV Infection on Age at Menopause and the Effects of Menopause on Response to Antiretroviral Therapy 
More than half of persons living with HIV infection in the United States (U.S.) will be ≥50 years of age by 2020, including postmenopausal women. We conducted a systematic literature review about the effects of (1) HIV infection on age at menopause and (2) menopause on antiretroviral therapy (ART) response, in order to inform optimal treatment strategies for menopausal women living with HIV infection. We used the Ovid Medline database from 1980 to 2012. We included studies that focused on HIV-infected persons, included postmenopausal women, and reported outcome data for either age at menopause or response to ART across menopause. We identified six original research articles for age at menopause and five for response to ART across menopause. Our review revealed that current data were conflicting and inconclusive; more rigorous studies are needed. Disentangling the effects of menopause requires well-designed studies with adequate numbers of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women, especially disproportionately affected women of color. Future studies should follow women from premenopause through menopause, use both surveys and laboratory measurements for menopause diagnoses, and control for confounders related to normal aging processes, in order to inform optimal clinical management for menopausal women living with HIV.
PMCID: PMC3880754  PMID: 24454386
24.  Poor agreement between interferon-gamma release assays and the tuberculin skin test among HIV-infected individuals in the country of Georgia 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:513.
Improved tests to diagnose latent TB infection (LTBI) are needed. We sought to evaluate the performance of two commercially available interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) compared to the tuberculin skin test (TST) for the diagnosis of LTBI and to identify risk factors for LTBI among HIV-infected individuals in Georgia, a country with high rates of TB.
HIV-patients were enrolled from the National AIDS Center in Tbilisi, Georgia. After providing informed consent, each participant completed a questionnaire, had blood drawn for QuantiFERON-TB Gold in-Tube (QFT-GIT) and T-SPOT.TB testing and had a TST placed. The TST was read at 48–72 hrs with ≥ 5 mm induration considered positive.
Between 2009–2011, 240 HIV-infected persons (66% male) with a median age of 38 years and a median CD4 count of 255 cells/μl (IQR: 124–412) had diagnostic testing for LTBI performed. 94% had visible evidence of a BCG scar. The TST was positive in 41 (17%) patients; QFT-GIT in 70 (29%); and T-SPOT.TB in 56 (24%). At least one diagnostic test was positive in 109 (45%) patients and only among 13 (5%) patients were all three tests positive. Three (1%) QFT-GIT and 19 (8%) T-SPOT.TB test results were indeterminate. The agreement among all pairs of tests was poor: QFT-GIT vs. T-SPOT.TB (κ = 0.18, 95% CI .07-.30), QFT-GIT vs. TST (κ = 0.29, 95% CI .16-.42), and TST vs. T-SPOT.TB (κ = 0.22, 95% CI .07-.29). Risk factors for LTBI varied by diagnostic test and none showed associations between positive test results and well-known risk factors for TB, such as imprisonment, drug abuse and immunological status.
A high proportion of HIV patients had at least one positive diagnostic test for LTBI; however, there was very poor agreement among all tests. This lack of agreement makes it difficult to know which test is superior and most appropriate for LTBI testing among HIV-infected patients. While further follow-up studies will help determine the predictive ability of different LTBI tests, improved modalities are needed for accurate detection of LTBI and assessment of risk of developing active TB among HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3817813  PMID: 24176032
Latent tuberculosis infection; Screening; TST; Interferon-gamma; Eastern Europe
25.  A Switch in Therapy to a Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor Sparing Combination of Lopinavir/Ritonavir and Raltegravir in Virologically Suppressed HIV-Infected Patients: A Pilot Randomized Trial to Assess Efficacy and Safety Profile: The KITE Study 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(10):1196-1206.
A nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) backbone is a recommended component of standard highly active antiretroviral therapy (sHAART). However, long-term NRTI exposure can be limited by toxicities. NRTI class-sparing alternatives are warranted in select patient populations. This is a 48-week single-center, open-label pilot study in which 60 HIV-infected adults with plasma HIV-1 RNA (<50 copies/ml) on sHAART were randomized (2:1) to lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) 400/100 mg BID+raltegravir (RAL) 400 mg BID switch (LPV-r/RAL arm) or to continue on sHAART. The primary endpoint was the proportion of subjects with HIV-RNA<50 copies/ml at week 48. Secondary efficacy and immunologic and safety endpoints were evaluated. Demographics and baseline lipid profile were similar across arms. Mean entry CD4 T cell count was 493 cells/mm3. At week 48, 92% [95% confidence interval (CI): 83–100%] of the LPV-r/RAL arm and 88% (95% CI: 75–100%) of the sHAART arm had HIV-RNA<50 copies/ml (p=0.70). Lipid profile (mean±SEM, mg/dl, LPV-r/RAL vs. sHAART) at week 24 was total-cholesterol 194±5 vs. 176±9 (p=0.07), triglycerides 234±30 vs. 133±27 (p=0.003), and LDL-cholesterol 121±6 vs. 110±8 (p=0.27). There were no serious adverse events (AEs) in either arm. Regimen change occurred in three LPV-r/RAL subjects (n=1, due to LPV-r/RAL-related AEs) vs. 0 in sHAART. There were no differences between arms in bone mineral density, total body fat composition, creatinine clearance, or CD4 T cell counts at week 48. In virologically suppressed patients on HAART, switching therapy to the NRTI-sparing LPV-r/RAL combination produced similar sustained virologic suppression and immunologic profile as sHAART. AEs were comparable between arms, but the LPV-r/RAL arm experienced higher triglyceridemia.
PMCID: PMC3448110  PMID: 22364141

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