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1.  Evaluation of Longitudinal Clinical Outcomes and Adherence to Care among HIV-Infected Refugees 
Background
HIV-infected refugees resettled in the United States face many challenges. Longitudinal data regarding HIV-specific outcomes in this population are limited.
Methods
We reviewed charts of 51 HIV-infected sub-Saharan African refugees matched to 102 nonrefugees. Outcomes analyzed included CD4 counts, viral loads (VLs), antiretroviral treatment (ART) use, appointment adherence, opportunistic infections, and resistance mutations.
Results
The ART initiation was similar. Appointment adherence was similar in year 1, but refugees were significantly less adherent beyond year 3. Refugees and nonrefugees spent similar amounts of time in care suppressed (83% vs 80%, P = .93). Refugees had higher odds of viremia following undetectable VL (OR 2.3, P < .05).
Discussion
Initially, sub-Saharan African HIV-infected refugees have comparable appointment adherence, ART use, and VL suppression to nonrefugees. Overtime refugees were less adherent to appointments and more likely to have postsuppression viremia. The support services provided to refugees early in care may be important for retention in care and treatment success.
doi:10.1177/1545109712459680
PMCID: PMC3966284  PMID: 23024042
refugee; sub-Saharan Africa; HIV; clinic adherence; postsuppression viremia
2.  Short Communication: New HIV Infections at Southern New England Academic Institutions: Implications for Prevention 
Abstract
New HIV infections among younger men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States are escalating. Data on HIV infections in college students are limited. In 2010, three MSM college students presented to our clinic with primary HIV infection (PHI) in a single month. To determine the number of college students among new HIV diagnoses, we reviewed clinical characteristics and molecular epidemiology of HIV-diagnosed individuals from January to December 2010 at the largest HIV clinic in Southern New England. PHI was defined as acute HIV infection or seroconversion within the last 6 months. Of 66 individuals diagnosed with HIV in 2010, 62% were MSM and 17% were academic students (12% college or university, 5% other). Seventy-three percent of students were MSM. Compared to nonstudents, students were more likely to be younger (24 versus 39 years), born in the United States (91% versus 56%), have another sexually transmitted disease (45% versus 11%), and present with PHI (73% versus 16%, all p-values<0.05). Thirty percent of individuals formed eight transmission clusters including four students. MSM were more likely to be part of clusters. Department of Health contact tracing of cluster participants allowed further identification of epidemiological linkages. Given these high rates of PHI in recently diagnosed students, institutions of higher education should be aware of acute HIV presentation and the need for rapid diagnosis. Prevention strategies should focus on younger MSM, specifically college-age students who may be at increased risk of HIV infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0130
PMCID: PMC3537304  PMID: 22724920
3.  Recent Clinical History and Cognitive Dysfunction for Attention and Executive Function among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients 
This study examined the association between recent trends in CD4 and viral loads and cognitive test performance with the expectation that recent history could predict cognitive performance. Eighty-three human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with a mean CD4 count of 428 copies/ml were examined in this study (62% with undetectable plasma viral load [PVL]). We investigated the relationships between nadir CD4 cell count, 1-year trends in immunologic function/PVLs, and cognitive performance across several domains using linear regression models. Nadir CD4 cell count was predictive of current executive function (p = .004). One year clinical history for CD4 cell counts and/or PVLs were predictive of executive function, attention/working memory, and learning/memory measures (p < .05). Models that combined recent clinical history trends and nadir CD4 cell counts suggested that recent clinical trends were more important in predicting current cognitive performance for all domains except executive function. This research suggests that recent CD4 and viral load history is an important predictor of current cognitive function across several cognitive domains. If validated, clinical variables and cognitive dysfunction models may improve our understanding of the dynamic relationships between disease evolution and progression and CNS involvement.
doi:10.1093/arclin/acr065
PMCID: PMC3243921  PMID: 21873325
HIV; Cognition; Neuropsychology; Executive function; Recent clinical history
4.  The Changing Face of HIV in Pregnancy in Rhode Island 2004–2009 
Meeting the needs of HIV-infected pregnant women requires understanding their backgrounds and potential barriers to care and safe pregnancy. Foreign-born women are more likely to have language, educational, and economic barriers to care, but may be even more likely to choose to keep a pregnancy. Data from HIV-infected pregnant women and their children in Rhode Island were analyzed to identify trends in demographics, viral control, terminations, miscarriages, timing of diagnosis, and adherence to followup. Between January 2004 and December 2009, 76 HIV-infected women became pregnant, with a total of 95 pregnancies. Seventy-nine percent of the women knew their HIV status prior to becoming pregnant. Fifty-four percent of the women were foreign-born and 38 percent of the 16 women who chose to terminate their pregnancies were foreign-born. While the number of HIV-infected women becoming pregnant has increased only slightly, the proportion that are foreign-born has been rising, from 41 percent between 2004 and 2005 to 57.5 percent between 2006 and 2009. A growing number of women are having multiple pregnancies after their HIV diagnosis, due to the strength of their desire for childbearing and the perception that HIV is a controllable illness that does not preclude the creation of a family.
doi:10.1155/2012/895047
PMCID: PMC3385607  PMID: 22778535
5.  Short Communication: Transmitted Drug Resistance and Molecular Epidemiology in Antiretroviral Naive HIV Type 1-Infected Patients in Rhode Island 
Abstract
Transmission of HIV-1 drug resistance has important clinical and epidemiological consequences including earlier treatment failure and forward transmission of resistance strains in high-risk groups. To evaluate the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of transmitted drug resistance in Rhode Island, we collected genotypic, demographic, clinical, and laboratory data from treatment-naive individuals presenting to the largest outpatient HIV clinic in the state from January 2007 to November 2007. Sequences from 35 treatment-naive individuals were available, 83% of whom were men who had sex with men (MSM). All sequences were HIV-1 subtype B. Drug resistance mutations were identified in 7/35 [20%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.08–0.37] patients, six of whom had K103N. Two phylogenetic transmission clusters were found, involving 17% (6/35) of individuals, three in each cluster. We did not find an association between belonging to a cluster and age, gender, AIDS-defining illness, CD4 cell count, or viral load. Drug resistance mutations were more commonly observed in transmission clusters (p = 0.08). Individuals in one cluster all had K103N and were MSM who had attended local bathhouses. Individuals forming clusters were significantly more likely to have visited a bathhouse compared to nonclusters (p = 0.02). The prevalence of transmitted drug resistance in Rhode Island is high, further justifying genotypic testing on presentation to care and prior to treatment initiation. Molecular epidemiological analysis and association of resistance with phylogenetic networks using data obtained for clinical purposes may serve as useful tools for the prevention of drug resistance transmission and for contact tracing.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0198
PMCID: PMC3048815  PMID: 20954831
6.  Follow-Up Care Among HIV-Infected Pregnant Women in Mississippi 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(10):1863-1867.
Abstract
Background
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that reproductive-age black women in the Southeast are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. There are few data describing HIV infection, pregnancies, and follow-up care in this population.
Methods
A retrospective chart review was performed at the Perinatal HIV Service at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, to identify HIV-infected women ≥18 years of age with deliveries from 1999 to 2006. Optimal follow-up was defined as at least two follow-up visits with an HIV provider within 1 year of delivery. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with optimal adherence.
Results
We identified 274 women with 297 total deliveries. Median age was 25, and 89% were black. Only 37% of women had two or more visits with an HIV provider in the postpartum year. On univariate analysis, presentation before the third trimester was associated with optimal follow-up (p = 0.04). On multivariate analyses, presentation before the third trimester was the only variable associated with optimal follow-up (odds ratio [OR] 2.1, p = 0.02).
Conclusions
The poor follow-up rates in this growing population highlight the critical need for research and development of targeted interventions to improve rates of retention in care, particularly in women with late trimester presentation.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2009.1880
PMCID: PMC2965694  PMID: 20831428
7.  Impact of Immigration on the Molecular Epidemiology of Tuberculosis in Rhode Island▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(3):834-844.
While foreign-born persons constitute only 11% of the population in the state of Rhode Island, they account for more than 65% of incident tuberculosis (TB) annually. We investigated the molecular-epidemiological differences between foreign-born and U.S.-born TB patients to estimate the degree of recent transmission and identify predictors of clustering. A total of 288 isolates collected from culture-confirmed TB cases in Rhode Island between 1995 and 2004 were fingerprinted by spoligotyping and 12-locus mycobacterial interspersed repetitive units. Of the 288 fingerprinted isolates, 109 (37.8%) belonged to 36 genetic clusters. Our findings demonstrate that U.S.-born patients, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific islanders, and uninsured patients were significantly more likely to be clustered. Recent transmission among the foreign-born population was restricted and occurred mostly locally, within populations originating from the same region. Nevertheless, TB transmission between the foreign-born and U.S.-born population should not be neglected, since 80% of the mixed clusters of foreign- and U.S.-born persons arose from a foreign-born source case. We conclude that timely access to routine screening and treatment for latent TB infection for immigrants is vital for disease elimination in Rhode Island.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01952-10
PMCID: PMC3067685  PMID: 21159930
9.  HIV infection in refugees: a case–control analysis of refugees in Rhode Island 
Summary
Objectives:
The number of HIV-infected refugees entering the USA is increasing. There is little data describing the HIV-infected refugee population and the challenges encountered when caring for them. We performed a retrospective case–control analysis of HIV-infected refugees in order to characterize their co-morbidities, baseline HIV characteristics, and longitudinal care compared to HIV-infected non-refugees.
Methods:
A retrospective chart review was performed of HIV-infected refugees and non-refugees who were matched for gender, age, and time of establishment of initial HIV care.
Results:
The refugee population studied was largely from West Africa. Refugees were more likely than non-refugees to have heterosexual risk for HIV infection, latent tuberculosis infection, and active hepatitis B. Refugees were less likely than non-refugees to have a history of substance use, start antiretrovirals, and be enrolled in a clinical study. The baseline CD4 counts and HIV plasma viral loads were similar between the two groups.
Conclusions:
Clinicians caring for West African HIV-infected refugees should be knowledgeable about likely co-morbidities and the impact of cultural differences on HIV care. Further studies are needed to develop culturally competent HIV treatment, education, and prevention programs for refugees who are beginning a new life in the USA.
doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2008.06.004
PMCID: PMC2704558  PMID: 18771943
HIV infection; Refugee; HIV treatment; HIV care

Results 1-9 (9)