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1.  Retention Challenges for a Community-Based HIV Primary Care Clinic and Implications for Intervention 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2007;21(9):691-701.
The present study sought to elucidate factors involved in loss to follow-up (LTF) among HIV-infected patients who had been receiving medical care at Fenway Community Health (FCH) located in Boston, Massachusetts. FCH provided care to 1143 HIV-infected patients in 2005, predominantly Caucasian men who have sex with men (MSM). Two approaches were used to address the research question. First, 495 patients were identified that had been LTF from 2001–2005. One hundred seventy-nine eligible patients completed a questionnaire to determine reasons for discontinuing care, representing a 51% response rate. Second, a cohort study was performed using the medical record data of 896 HIV-infected patients who were receiving medical care in the year 2000. Patients' utilization of primary medical care was followed until January 1, 2005 and predictors of LTF were examined using Cox proportional hazards regression modeling. Survey respondents reported that the greatest perceived barriers to care at FCH were personal/cultural, structural, and financial in nature. Twenty-two percent reported sporadic care elsewhere with gaps in care of 6 months or more, and 8% reported no regular provider for HIV. Significant predictors of LTF from regression analysis included: minority race/ethnicity, use of safety-net insurance, appointment nonadherence and no medical social work visits. To improve engagement and retention in care, organizations may use patient surveys for organizational self-assessment to effect operational changes that minimize barriers to care. A risk assessment tool based on evidence-based methods can be implemented to identify high-risk patients for innovative outreach interventions. The primary study limitation is the underrepresentation of minority and traditionally underserved populations.
doi:10.1089/apc.2006.0205
PMCID: PMC4062571  PMID: 17919096
2.  Nurses’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice Related to HIV Transmission in Northeastern China 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2004;18(7):417-422.
The purpose of this study was to describe what nurses know about HIV/AIDS in the First Affiliated Hospital of Jiamusi University, Heilongjiang Province, China. This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study. Only 7.9% of the nurse (n = 177) used condoms during their first experience of sexual intercourse. Eight-six percent of the nurses had been stuck by sharps while working, and 76% of them had been splashed by patient fluids. For 12 basic HIV/AIDS questions, the mean score was 6.66. The mean score is 6.28 for 9 HIV/AIDS attitude questions. Knowledge and attitude are negatively related (r = –0.215, p < 0.005). Training in reducing the risk for occupational exposures in this sample is important. Nurses who have a better understanding of HIV/AIDS prevention are more likely to have negative attitudes toward HIV/AIDS. This study suggests the necessity of increasing HIV/AIDS education for nurses, family members, friends, and all health care providers.
doi:10.1089/1087291041518247
PMCID: PMC3586533  PMID: 15307930
3.  A Qualitative Study Among Injection Drug Using Women in Rhode Island: Attitudes Toward Testing, Treatment, and Vaccination for Hepatitis and HIV 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2008;22(1):53-64.
HIV and hepatitis C virus infection are serious and prevalent health conditions among many women who inject drugs. Qualitative interviews with 20 injection drug using women at a short term drug treatment center in Rhode Island revealed six primary barriers and facilitators for testing and receiving results and treatment for hepatitis and HIV, as well as for hepatitis vaccination. The primary barriers were prioritization of drug use; low level of diseases-pecific knowledge; stigmatization; accessibility of testing, results and treatment; and psychological factors. The primary facilitator was interest in promoting one’s health. Our findings indicate that injection drug using women experience multiple barriers to HIV and hepatitis testing, results, treatment and vaccination. Methods for improving the motivators for health, facilitating infectious disease prevention, and decreasing unnecessary disease complications of injection drug using women need to be utilized. These methods should include strategies that minimize stigma and facilitate accessibility of health care.
doi:10.1089/apc.2006.0206
PMCID: PMC3291496  PMID: 18095839
4.  Predictors of the Initiation of HIV Postexposure Prophylaxis in Rhode Island Emergency Departments 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2008;22(1):41-52.
The objective of this study was to elucidate factors that predicted the initiation of HIV postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) for blood or body fluid exposures evaluated at Rhode Island emergency departments (EDs). The study involved a retrospective review of patient visits to all civilian Rhode Island EDs for these exposures from 1995 to mid-2001. Multivariate logistic regression models were created to evaluate predictors of the offering and the acceptance and receipt of HIV PEP from 1996 to 2001. The search identified 3622 patients who sustained a blood or body fluid exposure. Of these, 43.8% were health care workers (HCWs) and 57.2% were not HCWs. Most (52.0%) of the exposures were nonsexual. HIV PEP was offered to 21.0% and accepted and received by 9.4% of all patients. HIV PEP was offered more often after significant exposures, exposures to known HIV-infected sources, when time elapsed after the exposure was shorter, if the patients were HCWs, adults, presented to a teaching hospital, presented during the latter years of the study, or sustained nonsexual exposures. Once offered HIV PEP, patients who were male, adult, sustained a significant exposure, knew the source was HIV infected, sustained a nonsexual exposure, or were HCWs had a greater odds of accepting and receiving HIV PEP. Even when controlling for exposure significance, HIV status, and time elapsed since the exposure, several factors such as gender and type of hospital that are unrelated to the exposure appeared to influence the initiation of HIV PEP. ED providers should ensure that these factors do not inappropriately restrict its initiation.
doi:10.1089/apc.2007.0031
PMCID: PMC3206608  PMID: 18095841
5.  Antiretroviral Therapies Associated with Lipoatrophy in HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2007;21(5):297-305.
We previously demonstrated that HIV infection is associated with peripheral and central lipoatrophy in women. We now describe the association of specific antiretroviral drugs (ARV) with body fat changes over a four-year period from 1999 to 2003. 775 HIV-positive and 205 HIV-negative women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with anthropometric measurements, weight, bioelectric impedance analysis and ARV collected semiannually were included in analysis. Exposure to ARV was defined as report of use for 3 consecutive semiannual study visits. The average 6–month change in weight, percent total body fat, and circumference measurements (i.e., hip, waist, chest, arm, and thigh) was compared between those exposed and those unexposed to the specific ARV for any of the same three consecutive visits. Weight, percent total body fat, and hip, waist, thigh, chest, and arm circumferences decreased in HIV-positive women, but increased in HIV-negative women on average for every six-month interval over the 4-year study period. Among the HIV-positive women, didanosine was the only ARV associated with decreases in circumference measures in the hip (−0.65 cm, 95% confidence interval [CI]: −1.18, −0.12), waist (−0.71 cm, 95% CI: −1.37, −0.04), chest (−0.71 cm, 95% CI: −1.17, −0.26), and arm (−0.23 cm, 95% CI: −0.48, 0.03; p = 0.08). These prospective data suggest that fat loss continues to predominate in HIV-positive women and exposure to didanosine for at least 12 months may further worsen fat loss.
doi:10.1089/apc.2006.128
PMCID: PMC3133726  PMID: 17518522
6.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
Abstract
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723
7.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Abstract
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different (p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0111
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
8.  Long-Term Combination Antiretroviral Therapy Is Associated with the Risk of Coronary Plaques in African Americans with HIV Infection 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(10):815-824.
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess whether long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with the risk of coronary plaques in HIV-infected cardiovascularly asymptomatic African Americans. Between August 2003 and December 2007, 176 HIV-infected cardiovascularly asymptomatic African Americans were consecutively enrolled in an observational study investigating the effects of ART on subclinical atherosclerosis in Baltimore, Maryland. Computed tomography coronary angiography was performed to detect coronary plaques. The overall prevalence rate of coronary plaques was 30%. After adjusting for gender, total cholesterol, and cocaine use, logistic regression analysis revealed that exposure to ART for more than 18 months (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 2.20, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01, 4.79) was independently associated with the presence of coronary plaques. A higher HIV viral load was univariately associated with the presence of noncalcified plaques. Use of ART (>18 months) was independently associated with the presence of noncalcified plaques (adjusted OR: 7.61, 95% CI: 1.67, 34.7), whereas cocaine use (>15 years) was independently associated with the presence of calcified plaques (adjusted OR: 2.51, 95% CI: 1.11, 5.67). This study suggests that long-term exposure to ART may be associated with coronary plaques. Because long-term use of ART and HIV replication may be associated with the presence of noncalcified plaques, some of which may be more vulnerable to rupture, an intensive lifestyle intervention to reduce traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD) is ultimately vital to those who are on ART. This study also suggests that cocaine cessation is the single most effective strategy to prevent CAD in HIV-infected cocaine users.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0048
PMCID: PMC2761979  PMID: 19803679
9.  HIV Testing and Conspiracy Beliefs Regarding the Origins of HIV among African Americans 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(9):759-763.
Abstract
Conspiracy beliefs regarding the origins of HIV are common among African Americans, and have been associated with engaging in HIV risk behaviors but also with earlier diagnosis among HIV patients. The objective of the present study was to test the association of HIV serostatus testing with conspiracy beliefs. A total of 1430 African Americans from low-income neighborhoods with high rates of drug use were surveyed in 1997–1999 in face-to-face interviews. Two 4-point items assessed if participants agreed that “AIDS was started by an experiment that went wrong” and “AIDS was created to kill blacks and poor folks.” A binary variable indicated if the respondent agreed with the statements, on average. 22.5% of the sample endorsed conspiracy beliefs, 4.0% of whom reported not having had an HIV test, compared to 7.7% of those who did not endorse conspiracy beliefs. In multivariable logistic regression modeling, never having had an HIV test was significantly associated with conspiracy beliefs (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3–4.3), having a high school education (AOR = 0.55, CI = 0.35–0.84), having depression (AOR = 1.61, CI = 1.02–2.52), female gender (AOR = 0.54, CI = 0.34–0.86), younger age, and a history of injection drug use (AOR = 0.36, CI = 0.23–0.56), but not sex risk behaviors (multiple partners, irregular condom use). The finding that individuals who have conspiracy beliefs are more likely to have been tested for HIV may partially explain why HIV-positive individuals who endorse conspiracy beliefs are more likely to obtain an earlier diagnosis.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0061
PMCID: PMC2788153  PMID: 19663716
10.  Risky Sexual Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A Comparison Study of Cocaine-Dependent Individuals in Treatment versus a Community-Matched Sample 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(9):727-734.
Abstract
Cocaine users routinely engage in high-risk sexual behaviors that place them at an elevated risk of contracting HIV and other blood-borne infections. The purpose of the present study was to compare trading sex for drugs and/or money, having 10 or more sexual partners in 1 year, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of cocaine-dependent individuals in treatment for their dependence across race and gender and against participants who live in their community. Cocaine-dependent individuals (n = 459) were identified through nine publicly and privately funded inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency treatment centers in the St. Louis area during 2001–2006. Community-based participants (n = 459) were matched to cocaine-dependent participants on age, ethnicity, gender, and zip code of residence. Mean age of the sample was 36 years old, 50% were Caucasians, 50% were African American, and 47% were male. Nearly half of cocaine-dependent participants in treatment had traded sex for drugs and/or money and over one-third had more than 10 sexual partners in 1 year with a risk concentrated among African Americans even after controlling for income and educational attainment. Participants recruited from the community with some exposure to cocaine reported similar rates of high risk sexual behaviors as the cocaine dependent subjects from treatment settings. It is important for clinicians to recognize that once released from treatment, cocaine-dependent individuals may be returning to high-risk environments where sexual risk behaviors are occurring in the context of cocaine use.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0272
PMCID: PMC2804246  PMID: 19645618
12.  Recurrent Community-Associated MRSA Infections among HIV-Infected Persons: Incidence and Risk Factors 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(7):499-502.
Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections are well described among the general population, but little is known regarding the incidence of and predictors for recurrent CA-MRSA infections among HIV-infected persons. We retrospectively evaluated HIV-infected patients seen at the Naval Medical Center San Diego from January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2007 for wound culture-proven MRSA infections defined as community-associated based on CDC criteria. Data on skin/soft tissue infections (SSTIs) following an initial CA-MRSA infection were collected by review of medical records and culture results. Patients with or without recurrent infections were compared for predictors of recurrence using multivariate logistic regression models. Thirty-one (6.8%) of 458 HIV patients had wound culture-proven CA-MRSA SSTIs for an incidence rate of 12.3 infections/1,000 person-years. Those who developed a MRSA infection had a mean age of 40 years, 97% were male, and 58% were Caucasian, 23% were Hispanic, 16% were African American, and 3% were other; demographics were similar to the overall study population. Fourteen (41%) HIV patients with an initial MRSA infection had recurrent SSTIs; of these, seven (21%) had culture-confirmed recurrent CA-MRSA. The median time between infection recurrences was four months (range one to 20 months). Suppressed HIV-1 RNA levels of <1000 copies/ml (OR 0.14, p=0.03) was associated with a lower rate of SSTI recurrence. In summary, HIV-infected persons have a high incidence of CA-MRSA skin/soft tissue infections and a high rate of recurrence. HIV control is associated with a reduced risk of recurrent skin/soft tissue infections.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0240
PMCID: PMC2732573  PMID: 19530952
MRSA; epidemiology; HIV; recurrent infections
13.  Recurrent Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections among HIV-Infected Persons: Incidence and Risk Factors 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(7):499-502.
Abstract
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are well described among the general population, but little is known regarding the incidence of and predictors for recurrent CA-MRSA infections among HIV-infected persons. We retrospectively evaluated HIV-infected patients seen at the Naval Medical Center San Diego from January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2007 for wound culture-proven MRSA infections defined as community-associated based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria. Data on skin/soft tissue infections (SSTIs) following an initial CA-MRSA infection were collected by review of medical records and culture results. Patients with or without recurrent infections were compared for predictors of recurrence using multivariate logistic regression models. Thirty-one (6.8%) of 458 patients with HIV had wound culture-proven CA-MRSA SSTIs for an incidence rate of 12.3 infections per 1000 person–years. Those who developed a MRSA infection had a mean age of 40 years, 97% were male, 58% were Caucasian, 23% were Hispanic, 16% were African American, and 3% were other; demographics were similar to the overall study population. Fourteen (41%) HIV patients with an initial MRSA infection had recurrent SSTIs; of these, seven (21%) had culture-confirmed recurrent CA-MRSA. The median time between infection recurrences was 4 months (range, 1–20 months). Suppressed HIV-1 RNA levels of less than 1000 copies per milliliter (odds ratio [OR] 0.14, p = 0.03) was associated with a lower rate of SSTI recurrence. In summary, HIV-infected persons have a high incidence of CA-MRSA skin/soft tissue infections and a high rate of recurrence. HIV control may be associated with a reduced risk of recurrent skin/soft tissue infections.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0240
PMCID: PMC2732573  PMID: 19530952
14.  Experience of Pain among Women with Advanced HIV Disease 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(7):503-511.
Abstract
We evaluated pain frequency and severity in 339 women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Among these, 63% were 39 years of age or younger, 17% were white, 54% African American, and 29% Hispanic; 32% did not complete high school; 58% had a CD4 less than 200; 65% had clinical AIDS; 60% were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); and 32% had a viral load of 50,000 or more. Data were collected between 1996 and 1998. Within the past 6 months 190 (56%) women experienced pain 6 or more days and 168 (50%) women indicated pain severity scores of 4 or 5 (5-point scale). Pain frequency and pain severity were not associated with age, education, ethnicity, current therapy, or location of the WIHS site. Pain frequency and severity were related to lower CD4 count, higher depression, with a history and longer duration of smoking and use of marijuana. Severity was associated with a history of crack/cocaine or heroin use or with injection drug use as the transmission category. In the multivariate models, pain severity was related to CD4 count and depression and to current tobacco use but not to crack, cocaine, heroin, or marijuana use. Pain frequency was related to depression and to former tobacco, crack, cocaine, heroin, or marijuana use but not to current use. The long-term effects of tobacco use may be to increase pain experience but women may also smoke tobacco or use other substances to give mild pain relief. Pain is frequent and often severe among women with HIV requiring medical management.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0128
PMCID: PMC2792586  PMID: 19534600
15.  The Impact of Perinatal HIV Infection on Older School-Aged Children's and Adolescents’ Receptive Language and Word Recognition Skills 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(6):415.
Perinatally HIV-infected youths are reaching adolescence in large numbers. Little is known about their cognitive functioning. This study aims to describe and compare the receptive language ability, word recognition skills, and school functioning of older school-aged children and adolescents perinatally HIV infected (HIV-positive) and perinatally HIV-exposed but uninfected (seroreverters; HIV-negative). Participants included 340 youths (206 HIV-positive, 134 HIV-negative), 9–16 years old, and their caregivers. Youths completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT-III) and the Reading Subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test, Third Edition (WRAT-3). Caregivers were interviewed regarding demographic characteristics and school placement of youths. Medical information was abstracted from medical charts. Both groups of youths scored poorly on the PPVT-III and WRAT-3 with about one third of youths scoring in less than the 10th percentile. The HIV-positive youths scored lower than the seroreverters (M = 83.8 versus 87.6, t = 2.21, p = 0.028) on the PPVT-III and on the WRAT-3 (M = 88.2 versus 93.8, t = 2.69, p = 0.008). Among the HIV-positive youths, neither CD4+ cell count, HIV RNA viral load or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classification were significantly associated with either PPVT-III or WRAT-3 scores. However, youths who were taking antiretroviral medication had lower WRAT-3 scores than youths not taking medication (M = 95.03 versus 86.89, t = 2.38, p = 0.018). HIV status remained significantly associated with PPVT-III and WRAT-3 standard scores after adjusting for demographic variables. Many youths had been retained in school and attended special education classes. Findings highlight poor language ability among youths infected with and affected by HIV, and the importance of educational interventions that address this emerging need.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0197
PMCID: PMC2818481  PMID: 19415986
16.  The Impact of Perinatal HIV Infection on Older School-Aged Children's and Adolescents' Receptive Language and Word Recognition Skills 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(6):415-421.
Abstract
Perinatally HIV-infected youths are reaching adolescence in large numbers. Little is known about their cognitive functioning. This study aims to describe and compare the receptive language ability, word recognition skills, and school functioning of older school-aged children and adolescents perinatally HIV infected (HIV-positive) and perinatally HIV-exposed but uninfected (seroreverters; HIV-negative). Participants included 340 youths (206 HIV-positive, 134 HIV-negative), 9–16 years old, and their caregivers. Youths completed the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT-III) and the Reading Subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test, Third Edition (WRAT-3). Caregivers were interviewed regarding demographic characteristics and school placement of youths. Medical information was abstracted from medical charts. Both groups of youths scored poorly on the PPVT-III and WRAT-3 with about one third of youths scoring in less than the 10th percentile. The HIV-positive youths scored lower than the seroreverters (M = 83.8 versus 87.6, t = 2.21, p = 0.028) on the PPVT-III and on the WRAT-3 (M = 88.2 versus 93.8, t = 2.69, p = 0.008). Among the HIV-positive youths, neither CD4+ cell count, HIV RNA viral load or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classification were significantly associated with either PPVT-III or WRAT-3 scores. However, youths who were taking antiretroviral medication had lower WRAT-3 scores than youths not taking medication (M = 95.03 versus 86.89, t = 2.38, p = 0.018). HIV status remained significantly associated with PPVT-III and WRAT-3 standard scores after adjusting for demographic variables. Many youths had been retained in school and attended special education classes. Findings highlight poor language ability among youths infected with and affected by HIV, and the importance of educational interventions that address this emerging need.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0197
PMCID: PMC2818481  PMID: 19415986
17.  HIV Stigma and Missed Medications in HIV-Positive People in Five African Countries 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(5):377-387.
Abstract
The availability of antiretroviral medications has transformed living with HIV infection into a manageable chronic illness, and high levels of adherence are necessary. Stigma has been identified as one reason for missing medication doses. The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between perceived HIV stigma and self-reported missed doses of antiretroviral medications in a 12-month, repeated measures cohort study conducted in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, and Tanzania. Data were collected from 1457 HIV-positive individuals at three times between January 2006 and March 2007. Participants completed a series of questionnaires. Of the 1457 participants, 698 were taking ARVs during the study and are included in this analysis. There was a significant relationship between perceived HIV stigma and self-report of missed medications over time (t = 6.04, p ≤ 0.001). Individuals who reported missing more ARV medications also reported higher levels of perceived HIV stigma. Individuals reporting fewer medication worries reported decreased stigma over the one year period (t = −4.79, p ≤ 0.001). While those who reported increased symptom intensity also reported increased stigma initially (t = 8.67, p ≤ 0.001) that remained high over time. This study provides evidence of a significant and stable correlation that documents the relationship between perceived HIV stigma and self-reported reasons for missed medications over time. These findings suggest that part of the reason for poor adherence to ARV medications is linked to the stigma experienced by people living with HIV.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0164
PMCID: PMC2716129  PMID: 19327098
18.  Willingness to Be Circumcised for Preventing HIV among Chinese Men Who Have Sex with Men 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(5):315-321.
Abstract
Male circumcision can reduce the risk of HIV acquisition among heterosexual men, but its effectiveness is uncertain in men who have sex with men (MSM). Additionally, its acceptability among Chinese men is unknown given a lack of history and cultural norms endorsing neonatal and adult circumcision. This study evaluated the willingness to participate in a clinical trial of circumcision among 328 Chinese MSM. Some 11.6% respondents reported having been circumcised, most of them due to a tight foreskin. Of 284 uncircumcised MSM, 16.9% said they were absolutely willing to participate, 26.4% were probably, 28.9% were probably not, and 27.8% were absolutely not; 81% said male circumcision would help maintain genital hygiene. The major motivators for willingness to participate included contribution to AIDS scientific research and getting free medical service. Men also had concerns about ineffectiveness of circumcision in reducing HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) risks and side effects of the surgery. Those who did not have a Beijing resident card (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.99; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17–3.38), did not find sexual partners through the Internet (AOR, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.21–3.75), and were not concerned about the effectiveness of circumcision (AOR, 2.37; 95% CI, 1.34–4.19) were more likely to be willing to participate in a trial. The study suggests that circumcision is uncommon among Chinese MSM. Considerable community education will be needed in circumcision advocacy among MSM in China. A clinical trial for efficacy among MSM should be considered.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0199
PMCID: PMC2743100  PMID: 19335172
19.  Association of Child Care Burden and Household Composition with Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(4):289-296.
Abstract
Our objective was to describe the association that childcare burden, household composition, and health care utilization have with adherence to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among women in the United States. The primary outcome was 95% or more adherence to HAART evaluated at 10,916 semiannual visits between October 1998 and March 2006 among 1419 HIV-infected participants enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. HAART adherence levels of 95% or more were reported at 76% of the semiannual visits. At only 4% of the person-visits did women report either quite a bit or extreme difficulty in caring for child; at 52% of the person-visits women reported at least one child 18 years of age or older living in the household. We found a one-unit increase in the difficulty in caring for children (childcare burden was assessed on a 5-point scale: not difficult [1] to extremely difficult [5]) was associated with a 6% decreased odds of 95% or more HAART adherence (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 0.94; p = 0.07). Each additional child 18 years of age or less living in the household was associated with an 8% decreased odds of 95% or more adherence (adjusted OR = 0.92, p = 0.03). Both the number and type of adult living in the household, as well as health care utilization were not associated with HAART adherence. Greater child care burden and number of children 18 years old or younger living in household were both inversely associated with HAART adherence. Assessing patients' difficulties in caring for children and household composition are important factors to consider when addressing adherence to HAART.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0161
PMCID: PMC2674283  PMID: 19243274
20.  Adaptation of an Evidence-Based Intervention Targeting HIV-Infected Prisoners Transitioning to the Community: The Process and Outcome of Formative Research for the Positive Living Using Safety (PLUS) Intervention 
AIDS Patient Care and STDs  2009;23(4):277-287.
Abstract
No evidence-based interventions (EBIs) have been designed for implementation during the critical period when HIV-infected prisoners are being transitioned from prison to the community. We therefore conducted formative research aimed at systematically selecting and adapting an EBI that integrates HIV risk reduction and adherence to antiretroviral therapy to implement among HIV-infected prisoners transitioning back to the community. Our formative research involved a critical examination of established EBIs and associated published reports complemented by data elicited through structured interviews with key stakeholders in community and correctional settings and members of the target population. Between September 2006 and February 2007, structured one-on-one interviews were conducted with key stakeholders in the target organizations (n = 19) and with members of the target population (n = 26) in Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut. Based on the formative research, we abbreviated and adapted the Holistic Health Recovery Program targeting people living with HIV (HHRP+), an EBI, to consist of four 45-minute sessions that cover a range of prespecified topics so that participants may individually apply intervention content as needed to their own HIV risk profile and antiretroviral adherence issues. The EBI was adapted so that it could be provided in an individual or group format and delivered in either consecutive or weekly sessions and so that it could be provided within the prison system and delivered just prior to release, or in a community-based setting where it could be delivered immediately after release. This study provides a comprehensive exemplar of the process of selecting and adapting an EBI taking into account both empirical evidence and input from target organization stakeholders and target population members in real-world settings where high-risk populations are concentrated.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0157
PMCID: PMC2770798  PMID: 19260773
21.  HIV Stigma and Social Support among African Americans 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2008;22(5):423-436.
HIV-related stigma and discrimination negatively impact African Americans living with HIV. Social support theory hypothesizes that social support can serve to protect individuals against the negative effects of stressors, such as discrimination, by leading them to interpret stressful occasions less negatively. This study sought to examine the relationship between perceived social support and perceived HIV stigma among HIV-positive African Americans. A cross-sectional convenience sample of 283 HIV-positive African Americans was recruited from three social service agencies. Bivariate and multivariate regressions were used to determine the variables predicting perceived HIV stigma. The study participants were found to have a wide variety of opinions concerning perceived HIV stigma. Of the three different sources of perceived social support examined (from family, friends and a “special person”), only perceived social support from friends was found to be related to perceived HIV stigma when controlling for the presence of other relevant factors. High perceived social support from friends was associated with less perceived HIV stigma. Other factors associated with low perceived HIV stigma included a lack of current symptoms of major depression, a longer time since HIV diagnosis and higher education. Information about the beneficial effects of perceived social support from friends and other factors can help to provide guidance to those working to decrease the negative impact of HIV stigma among HIV-positive African Americans.
doi:10.1089/apc.2007.0169
PMCID: PMC2831751  PMID: 18373417
22.  Factors Associated with Prevalent Hepatitis C Infection Among HIV-Infected Women with No Reported History of Injection Drug Use: The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):915-923.
Although the primary mode of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is exposure to blood products or injection drug use (IDU), studies have found varying independent risk factors for HCV infection among persons with no history of IDU or exposure to blood products. For HIV-infected women, sexual transmission may be another potential source of HCV infection. HIV-infected and HIV-negative women at risk for HIV enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) during October 1994 to November 1995 and again between October 2001 and November 2002 were studied. Clinical and demographic factors associated with HCV seroprevalence were assessed in multivariate logistic regression models controlling for history of blood transfusion and IDU. Among 3636 women with HCV results, 31.5% were HCV antibody positive (HCV+) including 13.5% with no reported history of IDU or blood transfusions. Multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified on IDU showed that among women with no history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV positivity (odds ratio [OR] = 2.8, 95% confidence [CI] = 2.1, 3.8, p < 0.0001) after controlling for blood transfusion, age, HIV infection, unemployment, birth in the United States, history of hepatitis B infection, and current smoking status. Further stratification on HIV status showed that the association was significant only for the HIV+ (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3, 2.7, p = 0.0007) compared to the HIV− women (OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 0.4, 2.7) although these odds ratios were not significantly different ( p = 0.25). For HIV-positive women with no reported history of IDU, sex with an IDU male was independently associated with HCV suggesting that sexual transmission may be an important mode of HCV transmission for these high-risk women.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0111
PMCID: PMC2823487  PMID: 19877800
23.  Depression and Social Support among HIV-affected Adolescents 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2007;21(6):409.
Adolescents of parents infected with HIV/AIDS (HIV-affected adolescents) were recruited from August 1993 to March 1995 to examine their depression as a function of their social support. Adolescent depression and the size, frequency of contact, satisfaction, negative role model influence, and positive social support were examined. Adolescent depression was associated with higher parent depression score, parental HIV disclosure, conduct problems, and was inversely related to higher self-esteem, being male, and a positive living situation. Negative social support was significantly associated with higher adolescent depression, indicating negative role model influence may be more salient than size, frequency of contact, perception, or positive social support. The findings underscore the complex relationships between social support and mental/behavioral outcomes among HIV-affected adolescents as well as the need to examine HIV disclosure in more detail within the context of adolescent social support.
doi:10.1089/apc.2006.0066
PMCID: PMC2819664  PMID: 17594250
24.  Risky Sexual Behaviors and STDs: A Comparison Study of Cocaine Dependent Individuals in Treatment versus a Community Matched Sample 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(9):727-734.
Cocaine users routinely engage in high risk sexual behaviors which place them at an elevated risk of contracting HIV and other blood borne infections. The purpose of the present study was to compare trading sex for drugs and/or money, having 10 or more sexual partners in one year, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of cocaine dependent individuals in treatment for their dependence across race and gender and against participants who live in their community. Cocaine dependent individuals (n = 459) were identified through nine publicly and privately funded inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency treatment centers in the St. Louis area during 2001–2006. Community-based participants (n = 459) were matched to cocaine dependent participants on age, ethnicity, gender, and zip code of residence. Mean age of the sample is 36 years old, 50% were Caucasians, 50% were African American, and 47% were male. Nearly half of cocaine dependent participants in treatment had traded sex for drugs and/or money and over one-third had more than 10 sexual partners in one year with a risk concentrated among African Americans even after controlling for income and educational attainment. Participants recruited from the community with some exposure to cocaine reported similar rates of high risk sexual behaviors as the cocaine dependent subjects from treatment settings. It is important for clinicians to recognize that once released from treatment, cocaine dependent individuals may be returning to high risk environments where sexual risk behaviors are occurring in the context of cocaine use.
doi:10.1089/apc.2008.0272
PMCID: PMC2804246  PMID: 19645618
high risk sexual behaviors; cocaine dependence; community; HIV
25.  Disclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use to Health Care Providers among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS patient care and STDs  2009;23(11):965-971.
To determine prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use disclosure to health care providers and whether CAM use disclosure is associated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence among HIV-infected women, we analyzed longitudinal data collected between October 1994 and March 2002 from HIV-infected CAM-using women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. Repeated measures Poisson regression models were constructed to evaluate associations of selected predictors with CAM use disclosure and association between CAM use disclosure and HAART adherence. A total of 1377 HIV-infected women reported CAM use during study follow-up and contributed a total of 4689 CAM-using person visits. The overall prevalence of CAM use disclosure to health care providers was 36% across study visits. Women over 45 years old, with a college education, or with health insurance coverage were more likely to disclose their CAM use to health care providers, whereas women identified as non-Hispanic Black or other ethnicities were less likely to communicate their CAM usage. More health care provider visits, more CAM domains used, and higher health care satisfaction scores had significant relationships with increased levels of CAM use disclosure. Restricting analysis to use of herbal or nonherbal medications only, similar results were obtained. Compared to other CAM domains, mind–body practice had the lowest prevalence of CAM use disclosure. Additionally, CAM use disclosure was significantly associated with higher HAART adherence. From this study, we showed that a high percentage of HIV-infected women did not discuss their CAM use with health care providers. Interventions targeted towards both physicians and patients may enhance communication of CAM use, avoid potential adverse events and drug interactions, and enhance HAART adherence.
doi:10.1089/apc.2009.0134
PMCID: PMC2801553  PMID: 19821723

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