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1.  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
2.  Modeling the Impact of Interventions Along the HIV Continuum of Care in Newark, New Jersey 
This article presents a mathematical model of HIV transmission in Newark, New Jersey, a hotspot of the US HIV epidemic. We model the impact of interventions along the continuum of care, showing a potential substantial decrease in mortality but limited reduction in incidence.
Background. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic in Newark, New Jersey, is among the most severe in the United States. Prevalence ranges up to 3.3% in some groups. The aim of this study is to use a mathematical model of the epidemic in Newark to assess the impact of interventions along the continuum of care, leading to virologic suppression.
Methods. A model was constructed of HIV infection including specific care-continuum steps. The model was calibrated to HIV/AIDS cases in Newark among different populations over a 10-year period. Interventions applied to model fits were increasing proportions tested, linked and retained in care, linked and adherent to treatment, and increasing testing frequency, high-risk-group testing, and adherence. Impacts were assessed by measuring incidence and death reductions 10 years postintervention.
Results. The most effective interventions for reducing incidence were improving treatment adherence and increasing testing frequency and coverage. No single intervention reduced incidence in 2023 by >5%, and the most effective combination of interventions reduced incidence by approximately 16% (2%–24%). The most efficacious interventions for reducing deaths were increasing retention, linkage to care, testing coverage, and adherence. Increasing retention reduced deaths by approximately 27% (24%–29%); the most efficacious combination of interventions reduced deaths in 2023 by approximately 52% (46%–57%).
Conclusions. Reducing HIV deaths in Newark over a 10-year period may be a realizable goal, but reducing incidence is less likely. Our results highlight the importance of addressing leaks across the entire continuum of care and reinforcing efforts to prevention new HIV infections with additional interventions.
PMCID: PMC3871792  PMID: 24140971
HIV; care continuum; mathematical model
3.  Challenges of a Hidden Epidemic: HIV Prevention among Women in the United States 
HIV/AIDS trends in the United States depict a concentrated epidemic with hot spots that vary by location, poverty, race/ethnicity, and transmission mode. HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death among US women of color; two thirds of new infections among women occur in black women, despite the fact that black women account for just 14% of the US female population. The gravity of the HIV epidemic among US women is often not appreciated by those at risk as well as by the broader scientific community. We summarize the current epidemiology of HIV/AIDS among US women and discuss clinical, research, and public health intervention components that must be brought together in a cohesive plan to reduce new HIV infections in US women. Only by accelerating research and programmatic efforts will the hidden epidemic of HIV among US women emerge into the light and come under control.
PMCID: PMC3551266  PMID: 21406990
HIV in women; HIV prevention science; racial disparity
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
5.  Evaluation of a Smoking Cessation Program for HIV Infected Individuals in an Urban HIV Clinic: Challenges and Lessons Learned 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2014;2014:237834.
Introduction. HIV infected persons have high prevalence of smoking and tobacco-associated health risks. Few studies describe smoking cessation programs targeting this population. The Infectious Disease Practice (IDP) in Newark, New Jersey, initiated a smoking cessation program (SCP) for HIV infected smokers. We report participation, abstinence rates, and predictors of abstinence. Methods. This is a prospective cohort study, comparing participants to non-SCP smokers, during April 1, 2011, to October 31, 2012. Intervention included one individualized counseling session with an offer of pharmacotherapy. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed with self-reported seven-day point prevalence abstinence at six months as primary outcome measure. Results. Among 1545 IDP patients, 774 (51%) were current smokers of whom 123 (16%) participated in the SCP. Mean six-month abstinence rate amongst SCP participants was 16%. A history of cocaine or heroin use was predictive of continued smoking (odds ratio [OR] adjusted 0.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.07–0.55) while smokers in the preparation stage of change were more likely abstinent at six months (OR adjusted 8.26, 95% CI 1.02–66.67). Conclusions. A low-intensity smoking cessation intervention in an HIV treatment setting is effective in a minority of participants. Further research is needed to better address barriers to smoking cessation such as substance use.
PMCID: PMC4198817  PMID: 25349726
6.  HIV Diversity as a Biomarker for HIV Incidence Estimation: Including a High-Resolution Melting Diversity Assay in a Multiassay Algorithm 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(1):115-121.
Multiassay algorithms (MAAs) can be used to estimate cross-sectional HIV incidence. We previously identified a robust MAA that includes the BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA), the Bio-Rad Avidity assay, viral load, and CD4 cell count. In this report, we evaluated MAAs that include a high-resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay that does not require sequencing. HRM scores were determined for eight regions of the HIV genome (2 in gag, 1 in pol, and 5 in env). The MAAs that were evaluated included the BED-CEIA, the Bio-Rad Avidity assay, viral load, and the HRM diversity assay, using HRM scores from different regions and a range of region-specific HRM diversity assay cutoffs. The performance characteristics based on the proportion of samples that were classified as MAA positive by duration of infection were determined for each MAA, including the mean window period. The cross-sectional incidence estimates obtained using optimized MAAs were compared to longitudinal incidence estimates for three cohorts in the United States. The performance of the HRM-based MAA was nearly identical to that of the MAA that included CD4 cell count. The HRM-based MAA had a mean window period of 154 days and provided cross-sectional incidence estimates that were similar to those based on cohort follow-up. HIV diversity is a useful biomarker for estimating HIV incidence. MAAs that include the HRM diversity assay can provide accurate HIV incidence estimates using stored blood plasma or serum samples without a requirement for CD4 cell count data.
PMCID: PMC3911463  PMID: 24153134
7.  A Comparison of Two Measures of HIV Diversity in Multi-Assay Algorithms for HIV Incidence Estimation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101043.
Multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) can be used to estimate HIV incidence in cross-sectional surveys. We compared the performance of two MAAs that use HIV diversity as one of four biomarkers for analysis of HIV incidence.
Both MAAs included two serologic assays (LAg-Avidity assay and BioRad-Avidity assay), HIV viral load, and an HIV diversity assay. HIV diversity was quantified using either a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay that does not require HIV sequencing (HRM score for a 239 base pair env region) or sequence ambiguity (the percentage of ambiguous bases in a 1,302 base pair pol region). Samples were classified as MAA positive (likely from individuals with recent HIV infection) if they met the criteria for all of the assays in the MAA. The following performance characteristics were assessed: (1) the proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection, (2) the mean window period, (3) the shadow (the time period before sample collection that is being assessed by the MAA), and (4) the accuracy of cross-sectional incidence estimates for three cohort studies.
The proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection was nearly identical for the two MAAs. The mean window period was 141 days for the HRM-based MAA and 131 days for the sequence ambiguity-based MAA. The shadows for both MAAs were <1 year. Both MAAs provided cross-sectional HIV incidence estimates that were very similar to longitudinal incidence estimates based on HIV seroconversion.
MAAs that include the LAg-Avidity assay, the BioRad-Avidity assay, HIV viral load, and HIV diversity can provide accurate HIV incidence estimates. Sequence ambiguity measures obtained using a commercially-available HIV genotyping system can be used as an alternative to HRM scores in MAAs for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation.
PMCID: PMC4072769  PMID: 24968135
8.  Performance of a Limiting-Antigen Avidity Enzyme Immunoassay for Cross-Sectional Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82772.
A limiting antigen avidity enzyme immunoassay (HIV-1 LAg-Avidity assay) was recently developed for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation. We evaluated the performance of the LAg-Avidity assay alone and in multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) that included other biomarkers.
Methods and Findings
Performance of testing algorithms was evaluated using 2,282 samples from individuals in the United States collected 1 month to >8 years after HIV seroconversion. The capacity of selected testing algorithms to accurately estimate incidence was evaluated in three longitudinal cohorts. When used in a single-assay format, the LAg-Avidity assay classified some individuals infected >5 years as assay positive and failed to provide reliable incidence estimates in cohorts that included individuals with long-term infections. We evaluated >500,000 testing algorithms, that included the LAg-Avidity assay alone and MAAs with other biomarkers (BED capture immunoassay [BED-CEIA], BioRad-Avidity assay, HIV viral load, CD4 cell count), varying the assays and assay cutoffs. We identified an optimized 2-assay MAA that included the LAg-Avidity and BioRad-Avidity assays, and an optimized 4-assay MAA that included those assays, as well as HIV viral load and CD4 cell count. The two optimized MAAs classified all 845 samples from individuals infected >5 years as MAA negative and estimated incidence within a year of sample collection. These two MAAs produced incidence estimates that were consistent with those from longitudinal follow-up of cohorts. A comparison of the laboratory assay costs of the MAAs was also performed, and we found that the costs associated with the optimal two assay MAA were substantially less than with the four assay MAA.
The LAg-Avidity assay did not perform well in a single-assay format, regardless of the assay cutoff. MAAs that include the LAg-Avidity and BioRad-Avidity assays, with or without viral load and CD4 cell count, provide accurate incidence estimates.
PMCID: PMC3873916  PMID: 24386116
9.  Addressing HIV prevention research priorities in the United States 
More than half a million Americans became newly infected with HIV in the first decade of the new millennium. The domestic epidemic has had the heaviest impact on men who have sex with men (MSM) and people from racial and ethnic minority populations, particularly African-Americans. For example, Black MSM represent <1% of the U.S. population but 25% of the new HIV cases, as per CDC estimates published in 2008. While Black and Hispanic women constitute 24% of all U.S. women, they accounted for 82% of HIV cases in women in 2005, based on data from 33 states with confidential name-based reporting. There is a nearly 23-fold higher rate of AIDS diagnoses for Black women (45.5/100,000 women) and nearly 6-fold higher rate for Hispanic women (11.2/100,000) compared to the rate for white women (2.0/100,000). Investigators from the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), an NIH-sponsored collaborative clinical trials group, have crafted a domestic research agenda with community input. Two new domestic studies are in progress (2009) and a community-based clinical trial feasibility effort is in development (2010 start date). These studies focus on outreach, testing, and treatment of infected persons as a backbone for HIV prevention. Reaching persons not receiving health message and service with novel approaches to both prevention and care/treatment is an essential priority for HIV control in the U.S.; our research is designed to guide the best approaches and assess the impact of bridging treatment and prevention.
PMCID: PMC2862583  PMID: 20397942
HIV; prevention; United States; homosexual; women; transmission; antiretroviral treatment; black; Hispanic
10.  Health Needs of HIV-Infected Women in the United States: Insights from The Women Living Positive Survey 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2011;25(5):279-285.
The objective of this study was to describe attitudes, opinions, and perceived health needs of HIV-infected women in the United States. In this cross-sectional study, women were invited to participate in the Women Living Positive survey, a structured interview instrument with 45 questions. Collected data were deidentified and the margin of error was calculated as four percentage points. Incoming toll-free phone interviews were conducted from December 21, 2006, through March 14, 2007 among subjects recruited from a U.S. national network of AIDS counseling centers. Seven hundred HIV-infected women (43% African American, 28.5% Hispanic, 28.5% Caucasian; median age, 42.5 years) receiving combination antiretroviral therapy for 3 years or more replied to recruitment flyers. Overall, 55% of survey participants had never discussed gender-specific HIV treatment issues with their HIV care providers. Of the 45% who did discuss these issues, almost all (96%) were satisfied. On average, one-third of the women had seen three or more providers since beginning HIV treatment; 43% indicated they had switched providers because of communication issues. Among women who had been or were pregnant at the time of the survey (n=159), more than half (57%) had not had pre-pregnancy discussions with their HIV provider about the most appropriate HIV regimens for women attempting to become pregnant. Significant communication gaps exist between HIV-infected women and their providers when discussing gender-specific treatment issues. These data highlight a need for U.S. health care providers to incorporate discussion of gender-specific issues, including preconception and reproductive counseling, into management strategies for HIV-infected women.
PMCID: PMC3085953  PMID: 21446785

Results 1-10 (10)