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1.  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.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181fbbdf9
PMCID: PMC3551266  PMID: 21406990
HIV in women; HIV prevention science; racial disparity
2.  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.
doi:10.1086/651485
PMCID: PMC2862583  PMID: 20397942
HIV; prevention; United States; homosexual; women; transmission; antiretroviral treatment; black; Hispanic
3.  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.
Abstract
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.
doi:10.1089/apc.2010.0228
PMCID: PMC3085953  PMID: 21446785
4.  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.
Background
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082772
PMCID: PMC3873916  PMID: 24386116

Results 1-4 (4)