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1.  Cleavage/Alteration of Interleukin-8 by Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 in the Female Lower Genital Tract 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116911.
Objective
Interleukin-8 (IL-8, CXCL8) plays important roles in immune responses at mucosal sites including in the lower genital tract. Since several types of bacteria produce proteases that cleave IL-8 and many types of bacteria can be present in lower genital tract microbiota, we assessed genital fluids for IL-8 cleavage/alteration.
Study Design
Genital fluids collected by lavage from 200 women (23 HIV-seronegative and 177 HIV-seropositive) were tested for IL-8 cleavage/alteration by ELISA.
Results
IL-8 cleaving/altering activity was observed in fluids from both HIV-positive (28%) and HIV-negative women (35%). There was no clear relationship between the activity and the types of bacteria present in the lower genital tract as determined by high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Protease inhibitors specific for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) reduced the activity and a multiplex assay that detects both inactive and active MMPs showed the presence of multiple MMPs, including MMP-1, -3, -7, -8, -9, -10 and -12 in genital secretions from many of the women. The IL-8-cleaving/altering activity significantly correlated with active MMP-9 as well as with cleavage of a substrate that is acted on by several active MMPs.
Conclusions
These studies show that multiple MMPs are present in the genital tract of women and strongly suggest that MMP-9 in genital secretions can cleave IL-8 at this mucosal site. These studies suggest that MMP-mediated cleavage of IL-8 can modulate inflammatory responses in the lower genital tract.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116911
PMCID: PMC4303271  PMID: 25611319
2.  Anthropometric measures and cognition in middle-aged HIV-infected and uninfected women. The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Journal of neurovirology  2013;19(6):574-585.
Objective
To explore the relationship of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) with cognition in women with (HIV+) and without HIV (HIV-) infection.
Design/Methods
1690 participants (1196 HIV+, 494 HIV-) in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) with data available on anthropometric measures comprise the analytical sample. Cross-sectional analyses using linear regression models estimated the relationship between anthropometric variables and Trails A, Trails B, Stroop interference time, Stroop word recall, Stroop color naming and reading, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) with consideration for age, HIV infection status, Wide Range Achievement Test score, CD4 count, insulin resistance, drug use, and race/ethnicity.
Results
Among HIV+ women, BMI < 18.5 kg/m2 was associated with poorer cognitive performance evidenced by longer Trails A and Trails B and shorter SDMT completion times. An obese BMI (30 kg/m2 or higher) was related to better performance on Trails B and worse performance on the Stroop Interference test. Among HIV- women, an obese BMI was related to worse performance on the Stroop – Color naming test. Few and inconsistent associations were observed between WC, WHR and cognition.
Conclusion
Among women at mid-life with chronic (at least 10 years) HIV infection, common anthropometric measures, primarily BMI, were differentially related to cognitive test performance by cognitive domain. Higher levels of BMI were associated with better cognitive function. In this era of antiretroviral therapies, restoration of health evidenced as higher BMI due to effective antiretroviral therapies, may improve cognitive function in middle-aged HIV infected women.
doi:10.1007/s13365-013-0219-1
PMCID: PMC3957488  PMID: 24338243
Cognition; HIV; Women; Overweight; Obesity; Middle-Aged
3.  Serum biomarkers of immune activation and subsequent risk of non-Hodgkin B cell lymphoma among HIV-infected women 
Background
There is increasing evidence that chronic immune activation predisposes to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). Whether this association exists among women representative of the current HIV epidemic in the U.S. who are at high risk of HIV-associated NHL (AIDS-NHL), remains to be determined.
Methods
We conducted a nested case-control study within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study with longitudinally collected risk factor data and sera. Cases were HIV-infected women with stored sera collected at three time-windows 3–5 years, 1–3 years, and 0–1 year prior to AIDS-NHL diagnosis (n=22). Three to six HIV-infected controls, without AIDS-NHL, were matched to each case on age, race, CD4+ T cell count, and study follow-up time (n=78). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between one unit increase in log-transformed biomarker levels and AIDS-NHL were computed using random effect multivariate logistic regression models.
Results
Elevated levels of sCD27 (OR=7.21, 95% CI=2.62–19.88), sCD30 (OR=2.64, 95% CI=1.24–5.64), and CXCL13 (OR=2.56, 95% CI=1.32–4.96) were associated with subsequent diagnosis of AIDS-NHL overall. Elevated sCD23 was associated with a 2-to 4-fold increased risk of AIDS-NHL in certain subgroups, while elevated IL6 was associated with a 2-fold increased risk in the 0–1 year time-window, only.
Conclusion
These findings support the hypothesis that chronic B cell activation contributes to the development of AIDS-NHL in women.
Impact
sCD23, sCD27, sCD30, and CXCL13 may serve as biomarkers for AIDS-NHL.
doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0614
PMCID: PMC3833437  PMID: 24045923
lymphoma; B cell; cytokines; AIDS; immune activation
4.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in TrkB and Risk for Depression: Findings from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) are more likely than non-infected individuals to develop depression. HIV lowers brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophic factor whose receptors play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of depression. Therefore, we examined whether a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the BDNF gene (rs56164415) and related receptors TrkB (rs1212171) and p75NTR (rs2072446) were associated with depression in HIV infected individuals. 1365 HIV positive and 371 HIV negative female subjects were included. The distribution of alleles was analyzed independently in African-Americans (non-Hispanic) and Caucasians (non-Hispanic). We have found that the absence of depressive symptoms in HIV positive subjects is associated with a genetic variation of the TrkB but not BDNF or p75NTR genes. This mutation explains 0.8% and 4.4% of the variability for the absence of depression in African-Americans and Caucasians, respectively.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182a468e9
PMCID: PMC3780967  PMID: 24047966
association studies; BDNF; HIV-1; p75NTR; rs1212171; rs2072446
5.  Comparison of Lower Genital Tract Microbiota in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women from Rwanda and the US 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96844.
Introduction
Previous studies have shown that alterations of the bacterial microbiota in the lower female genital tract influence susceptibility to HIV infection and shedding. We assessed geographic differences in types of genital microbiota between HIV-infected and uninfected women from Rwanda and the United States.
Methods
Genera of lower genital tract bacterial microbiota were identified by high-throughput pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene from 46 US women (36 HIV-infected, 10 HIV-uninfected) and 40 Rwandan women (18 HIV-infected, 22 HIV-uninfected) with similar proportions of low (0–3) Nugent scores. Species of Lactobacillus were identified by assembling sequences along with reference sequences into phylogenetic trees. Prevalence of genera and Lactobacillus species were compared using Fisher's exact tests.
Results
Overall the seven most prevalent genera were Lactobacillus (74%), Prevotella (56%), Gardnerella (55%), Atopobium (42%), Sneathia (37%), Megasphaera (30%), and Parvimonas (26%), observed at similar prevalences comparing Rwandan to US women, except for Megasphaera (20% vs. 39%, p = 0.06). Additionally, Rwandan women had higher frequencies of Mycoplasma (23% vs. 7%, p = 0.06) and Eggerthella (13% vs. 0%, p = 0.02), and lower frequencies of Lachnobacterium (8% vs. 35%, p<0.01) and Allisonella (5% vs. 30%, p<0.01), compared with US women. The prevalence of Mycoplasma was highest (p<0.05) in HIV-infected Rwandan women (39%), compared to HIV-infected US women (6%), HIV-uninfected Rwandan (9%) and US (10%) women. The most prevalent lactobacillus species in both Rwandan and US women was L. iners (58% vs. 76%, p = 0.11), followed by L. crispatus (28% vs. 30%, p = 0.82), L. jensenii (20% vs. 24%, p = 0.80), L. gasseri (20% vs. 11%, p = 0.37) and L. vaginalis (20% vs. 7%, p = 0.10).
Discussion
We found similar prevalence of most major bacterial genera and Lactobacillus species in Rwandan and US women. Further work will be needed to establish whether observed differences differentially impact lower genital tract health or susceptibility to genital infections.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096844
PMCID: PMC4016010  PMID: 24817204
6.  Tenofovir use and urinary biomarkers among HIV-infected women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Background
Tenofovir has been associated with renal tubular injury. Biomarkers that signal early tubular dysfunction are needed because creatinine rise lags behind tenofovir-associated kidney dysfunction. We examined several urinary biomarkers to determine if rises accompanying tenofovir initiation preceded creatinine changes.
Methods
Three urinary biomarkers of tubular impairment- neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), N-acetyl- β -D-glucosaminidase (NAG), and β-2-microglobulin (β2MG)-were measured across three time points (one pre-tenofovir visit and two post tenofovir visits) in one hundred and thirty two HIV-positive women from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Women initiating HAART containing tenofovir were propensity score matched to women initiating HAART without tenofovir and women not on HAART.
Results
There were no differences between groups for NGAL or NAG but β2MG was 19 times more likely to be elevated among tenofovir users at the 2nd post tenofovir visit compared to non-TDF users at the pre-tenofovir visit (p<0.01). History of proteinuria was associated with elevated NGAL (p <0.01). Factors associated with elevated NAG were GFR<60 ml/min, history of proteinuria, hepatitis C (p<0.01 for all) and diabetes mellitus (p=0.05). Factors associated with increased odds of elevated β2MG were HIV RNA>100,000 copies/ml, hepatitis C, boosted protease inhibitor (PI) use, and GFR<60 ml/min (p≤0.01 for all).
Conclusions
β2MG levels are elevated in women on tenofovir indicating probable early renal dysfunction. Biomarker elevation is additionally associated with baseline chronic kidney disease, uncontrolled viremia, and boosted PI use. Future studies are needed to explore urinary biomarker thresholds in identifying treated HIV-infected individuals at risk for renal dysfunction.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31828175c9
PMCID: PMC3692572  PMID: 23254151
Tenofovir; urinary biomarkers; HIV infected women
7.  Underlying genetic structure impacts the association between CYP2B6 polymorphisms and response to efavirenz and nevirapine 
AIDS (London, England)  2012;26(16):2097-2106.
Objective
CYP2B6 variation predicts pharmacokinetic characteristics of its substrates. Consideration for underlying genetic structure is critical to protect against spurious associations with the highly polymorphic CYP2B6 gene.
Design
The effect of CYP2B6 variation on response to its substrates, nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), was explored in the Women's Interagency HIV Study.
Methods
Five putative functional polymorphisms were tested for associations with virologic suppression within one year after NNRTI initiation in women naïve to antiretroviral agents (n=91). Principal components (PCs) were generated to control for population substructure. Logistic regression was used to test the joint effect of rs3745274 and rs28399499, which together indicate slow, intermediate, and extensive metabolizers.
Results
Rs3745274 was significantly associated with virologic suppression (OR=3.61, 95% CI 1.16-11.22, p trend=0.03); the remaining polymorphisms tested were not significantly associated with response. Women classified as intermediate and slow metabolizers were 2.90 (95% CI 0.79-12.28) and 13.44 (95% CI 1.66-infinity) times as likely to achieve virologic suppression compared to extensive metabolizers after adjustment for PCs (p trend=0.005). Failure to control for genetic ancestry resulted in substantial confounding of the relationship between the metabolizer phenotype and treatment response.
Conclusion
The CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype was significantly associated with virologic response to NNRTIs; this relationship would have been masked by simple adjustment for self-reported ethnicity. Given the appreciable genetic heterogeneity that exists within self-reported ethnicity, these results exemplify the importance of characterizing underlying genetic structure in pharmacogenetic studies. Further follow-up of the CYP2B6 metabolizer phenotype is warranted given the potential clinical importance of this finding.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283593602
PMCID: PMC3940150  PMID: 22951632
CYP2B6; population substructure; women; NNRTIs; confounding
8.  Association Of Hepatitis C With Markers Of Hemostasis In HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) 
Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is common. HIV infection and treatment are associated with hypercoaguability; thrombosis in HCV is under-investigated. Proposed markers of hemostasis in HIV include higher D-dimer, Factor VIII% and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1Ag), and lower total Protein S% (TPS), but have not been examined in HCV. We assessed the independent association of HCV with these four measures of hemostasis in a multicenter, prospective study of HIV: the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).
We randomly selected 450 HCV-infected (anti-HCV+ with detectable plasma HCV RNA) and 450 HCV-uninfected (anti-HCV−) women. HCV was the main exposure of interest in regression models.
443 HCV+ and 425 HCV− women were included. HCV+ women had higher Factor VIII% (124.4% ±3.9 vs. 101.8% ±3.7, p <0.001) and lower TPS (75.7% ±1.1 vs. 84.3% ±1.1, <0.001) than HCV−, independent of HIV infection and viral load; there was little difference in PAI-1Ag or log10 D-dimer. After adjustment for confounders, these inferences remained. HIV infection was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and log10 D-dimer, and lower TPS.
HCV was independently associated with higher Factor VIII% and lower TPS consistent with hypercoaguability. Higher Factor VIII % and D-dimer and lower total Protein S % were also strongly associated with HIV infection and levels of HIV viremia, independent of HCV infection. Further investigation is needed to determine if there is increased thrombotic risk from HCV. Studies examining hemostasis markers in HIV infection must also assess the contribution of HCV infection.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827fdd61
PMCID: PMC3652915  PMID: 23221984
9.  Risk of exposure to HIV differs according to catechol-o-methyltransferase Val158Met genotype 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(11):1779-1782.
The Met allele of the catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased cortical dopamine and risk behaviors including illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Therefore, we examined whether or not the distribution of the Val158Met genotype differed between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. We conducted an Armitage-Cochran Test and logistic regression to compare genotype frequencies between 1,848 HIV-infected and 612 HIV-uninfected women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). The likelihood of carrying one or two Met alleles was greater in HIV-infected women (61%) compared to HIV-uninfected women (54%), Z = −3.60, p < 0.001. We report the novel finding of an association between the Val158Met genotype and HIV serostatus that may be mediated through the impact of dopamine function on propensity for risk-taking.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e328361c6a1
PMCID: PMC3897122  PMID: 23807274
10.  A Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism in CYP2B6 Leads to >3-Fold Increases in Efavirenz Concentrations in Plasma and Hair Among HIV-Infected Women 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(9):1453-1461.
Background. Efavirenz exhibits marked interindividual variability in plasma levels and toxicities. Prior pharmacogenetic studies usually measure exposure via single plasma levels, examine limited numbers of polymorphisms, and rarely model multiple contributors. We analyzed numerous genetic and nongenetic factors impacting short-term and long-term exposure in a large heterogeneous population of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women.
Methods. We performed 24-hour intensive pharmacokinetic studies in 111 women receiving efavirenz under actual-use conditions and calculated the area-under-the-concentration-time curve (AUC) to assess short-term exposure; the efavirenz concentration in hair was measured to estimate long-term exposure. A total of 182 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and 45 haplotypes in 9 genes were analyzed in relationship to exposure by use of multivariate models that included a number of nongenetic factors.
Results. Efavirenz AUCs increased 1.26-fold per doubling of the alanine aminotransferase level and 1.23-fold with orange and/or orange juice consumption. Individuals with the CYP2B6 516TT genotype displayed 3.5-fold increases in AUCs and 3.2-fold increases in hair concentrations, compared with individuals with the TG/GG genotype. Another SNP in CYP2B6 (983TT) and a p-glycoprotein haplotype affected AUCs without substantially altering long-term exposure.
Conclusions. This comprehensive pharmacogenomics study showed that individuals with the CYP2B6 516TT genotype displayed >3-fold increases in both short-term and long-term efavirenz exposure, signifying durable effects. Pharmacogenetic testing combined with monitoring of hair levels may improve efavirenz outcomes and reduce toxicities.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis508
PMCID: PMC3466997  PMID: 22927450
11.  Depressive Symptoms are Increased in the Early Perimenopausal Stage in Ethnically Diverse HIV+ and HIV− Women 
Menopause (New York, N.Y.)  2012;19(11):1215-1223.
Objective
The risk of clinically significant depressive symptoms increases during the perimenopause. With highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART), more HIV-infected women survive to transition through the menopause. In a cross-sectional analysis, we evaluated the association of menopausal stage and vasomotor symptoms with depressive symptoms in an ethnically diverse, cohort of women with a high prevalence of HIV.
Methods
Participants included 835 HIV-infected women and 335 HIV-uninfected controls from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS; 63% African-American). The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale was used to screen for elevated depressive symptoms. Menopausal stages were defined according to standard definitions. Logistic regression analysis was used to identify predictors of elevated depressive symptoms.
Results
Compared to premenopausal women, early perimenopausal (OR 1.74, 95%CI 1.17–2.60), but not late perimenopausal or postmenopausal women were more likely to show elevated depressive symptoms in adjusted analyses. The odds were similar in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women. Persistent vasomotor symptoms also predicted elevated depressive symptoms in HIV-infected and uninfected women (OR 1.45, 95%CI 1.02–2.06). In HIV-infected women, menopausal stage interacted with antiretroviral use (p=0.02); the likelihood of elevated depressive symptoms in early perimenopause compared with premenopause was especially high in HAART-untreated women (OR 3.87, 95%CI 1.57–9.55).
Conclusions
In HIV+ and HIV− women, the odds of elevated depressive symptoms were significantly higher during the early perimenopause. Elevated depressive symptoms were associated with nonadherence to HAART, underscoring the importance of screening and treating depressive symptoms in HIV+ women who have experienced a change in the regularity of their menstrual cycles.
doi:10.1097/gme.0b013e318255434d
PMCID: PMC3483358  PMID: 22872013
HIV; Depression; Menopause; Perimenopause; African American; Vasomotor
12.  Insulin Resistance and Cognition Among HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Adult Women: The Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Abstract
Cognitive impairment remains prevalent in the era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and may be partially due to comorbidities. We postulated that insulin resistance (IR) is negatively associated with cognitive performance. We completed a cross-sectional analysis among 1547 (1201 HIV+) women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We evaluated the association of IR with cognitive measures among all WIHS women with concurrent fasting bloods and cognitive testing [Trails A, Trails B, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT)] using multiple linear regression models. A smaller subgroup also completed the Stroop test (n=1036). IR was estimated using the Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA). Higher HOMA was associated with poorer performance on the SDMT, Stroop Color-Naming (SCN) trial, and Stroop interference trial, but remained statistically significant only for the SCN in models adjusting for important factors [β=3.78 s (95% CI: 0.48–7.08), p=0.025, for highest vs. lowest quartile of HOMA]. HIV status did not appear to substantially impact the relationship of HOMA with SCN. There was a small but statistically significant association of HOMA and reduced neuropsychological performance on the SCN test in this cohort of women.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0159
PMCID: PMC3332367  PMID: 21878059
13.  Effects of hepatitis C and HIV on cognition in women: Data from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Objective
To compare neuropsychological scores in women infected with HIV, women infected with both HIV and hepatitis C, and uninfected subjects.
Background
Some, but not all, studies have demonstrated that dual infection with HCV and HIV has worse effects on cognition than infection with HIV alone.
Design/Methods
The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) is an ongoing prospective study of the natural history of HIV in women where participants are reevaluated every 6 months. In a cross-sectional analysis, we evaluated the effects of active HIV and HCV-infections on scores on symbol-digit test (SDMT), the Stroop interference test, and trails A and B after controlling for age, ethnicity, education, depression, liver disease, and current or past substance abuse.
Results
Data were available for 1338 women – 17.8 % had detectable hepatitis C virus and 67% were HIV-seropositive. In fully adjusted general linear models, HCV viremia was not associated with scores on any of the cognitive tests.
Conclusion
In this large sample of women, active HCV infection was not associated with scores on a small battery of neuropsychological tests.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318240566b
PMCID: PMC3319079  PMID: 22107817
Hepatitis C; HIV; neurocognition; women
14.  Associations of cardiovascular variables and HAART with cognition in middle-aged HIV-infected and uninfected women 
Journal of neurovirology  2011;17(5):469-476.
Despite use of HAART, cognitive impairment remains prevalent in HIV. Indeed, a recent study suggested that in certain instances, stopping HAART was associated with improved cognitive function (Robertson et al. 2010). HAART is occasionally associated with cardiovascular pathology and such pathology may be associated with cognitive impairment. To explore these associations, we assessed the relative contributions of cardiovascular variables such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, of HIV and HAART to cognition. Participants were members of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). In analysis of cross-sectional data using general linear models we assessed the relationship between each cardiovascular variable and Stroop interference time and symbol digit modalities test while adjusting for age, HIV, education, depression, and race/ethnicity. We also analyzed the association of summary measures of HAART use with cognition. In multivariate models significance was limited to carotid lesions and carotid intima-medial thickness quintile (CIMT) with Stroop interference time (for carotid lesions, coefficient = 10.5, CI: 3.5 to 17.5, p = 0.003, N = 1130; for CIMT quintile, coefficient = 8.6, CI = 1.7 to 15.4, p = 0.025, N = 1130). Summary measures of protease inhibitor use and other HAART measures were in most cases not associated with cognitive score in multivariate models. We conclude that in the HAART era among middle-aged women with HIV, carotid disease may be significantly associated with some measures of cognitive impairment. In this cross-sectional study, we could detect neither positive nor negative effects of HAART on cognition.
doi:10.1007/s13365-011-0052-3
PMCID: PMC3509940  PMID: 22006469
Cognition; HIV; Women; Hypertension; Atherosclerosis; Middle-Aged
15.  Association of Serum Albumin with Markers of Nutritional Status among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35079.
Introduction
The objectives of this study are to address if and how albumin can be used as an indication of malnutrition in HIV infected and uninfected Africans.
Methods
In 2005, 710 HIV-infected and 226 HIV-uninfected women enrolled in a cohort study. Clinical/demographic parameters, CD4 count, albumin, liver transaminases; anthropometric measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) were performed. Malnutrition outcomes were defined as body mass index (BMI), Fat-free mass index (FFMI) and Fat mass index (FMI). Separate linear predictive models including albumin were fit to these outcomes in HIV negative and HIV positive women by CD4 strata (CD4>350,200–350 and <200 cells/µl).
Results
In unadjusted models for each outcome in HIV-negative and HIV positive women with CD4>350 cells/µl, serum albumin was not significantly associated with BMI, FFMI or FMI. Albumin was significantly associated with all three outcomes (p<0.05) in HIV+ women with CD4 200–350 cells/µl, and highly significant in HIV+ women with CD4<200 cells/µl (P<0.001). In multivariable linear regression, albumin remained associated with FFMI in women with CD4 count<200 cells/µl (p<0.01) but not in HIV+ women with CD4>200.
Discussion
While serum albumin is widely used to indicate nutritional status it did not consistently predict malnutrition outcomes in HIV- women or HIV+ women with higher CD4. This result suggests that albumin may measure end stage disease as well as malnutrition and should not be used as a proxy for nutritional status without further study of its association with validated measures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035079
PMCID: PMC3331977  PMID: 22532840
16.  Structural determinants of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and BMI: a cross-sectional study of HIV-infected and HIV-negative Rwandan women 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000714.
Objectives
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the overlapping epidemics of undernutrition and HIV infection affect over 200 and 23 million people, respectively, and little is known about the combined prevalence and nutritional effects. The authors sought to determine which structural factors are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low body mass index (BMI) in HIV-negative and HIV-infected Sub-Saharan women.
Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of a longitudinal cohort.
Setting
Community-based women's organisations.
Participants
161 HIV-negative and 514 HIV-infected Rwandan women.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Primary outcomes included food insufficiency (reporting ‘usually not’ or ‘never’ to ‘Do you have enough food?’), low household dietary diversity (Household Dietary Diversity Score ≤3) and BMI <18.5 (kg/m2). The authors also measured structural and behavioural factors including: income, household size, literacy and alcohol use.
Results
Food insufficiency was prevalent (46%) as was low dietary diversity (43%) and low BMI (15%). Food insufficiency and dietary diversity were associated with low income (adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=2.14 (95% CI 1.30 to 3.52) p<0.01), (aOR=6.51 (95% CI 3.66 to 11.57) p<0.001), respectfully and illiteracy (aOR=2.00 (95% CI 1.31 to 3.04) p<0.01), (aOR=2.10 (95% CI 1.37 to 3.23) p<0.001), respectfully and were not associated with HIV infection. Alcohol use was strongly associated with food insufficiency (aOR=3.23 (95% CI 1.99 to 5.24) p<0.001). Low BMI was inversely associated with HIV infection (aOR≈0.5) and was not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Conclusions
Rwandan women experienced high rates of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. Extreme poverty, illiteracy and alcohol use, not HIV infection alone, may contribute to food insufficiency in Rwandan women. Food insufficiency, dietary diversity and low BMI do not correlate with one another; therefore, low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Further studies are needed to understand the health effects of not having enough food, low food diversity and low weight in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected women.
Article summary
Article focus
What structural determinants are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda?
What is the prevalence of food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda and are these outcomes correlated with each other?
Hypotheses
1: Poverty, low literacy status and alcohol use are associated with food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI.
2: Food insufficiency, low dietary diversity and low BMI are highly prevalent and are correlated with one another.
Key messages
Food insufficiency and low dietary diversity are highly prevalent (46% and 43%, respectively) and are associated with low income and illiteracy and strongly associated with alcohol use.
BMI (kg/m2) is not correlated with food insufficiency or dietary diversity.
Significance: food insufficiency and low dietary diversity, known contributors to poor health, are highly prevalent in HIV-negative and HIV-infected women in Rwanda. Low BMI may not be an adequate screening tool for food insufficiency. Extreme poverty, low literacy and alcohol use may contribute to food insufficiency and low dietary diversity. These structural factors may be useful targets to prevent the adverse health effects of food insufficiency and low dietary diversity.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Large cohort of HIV-negative and HIV-infected women, very detailed tools used for food insufficiency and dietary diversity
Cross-sectional design, our measurement of food insufficiency is solely by self-report.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000714
PMCID: PMC3329607  PMID: 22505309
17.  CC Chemokine Receptor 5 Genotype and Susceptibility to Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in Women 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2003;187(4):569-575.
The human gene for CC chemokine receptor 5, a coreceptor for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), affects susceptibility to infection. Most studies of predominantly male cohorts found that individuals carrying a homozygous deleted form of the gene, Δ32, were protected against transmission, but protection did not extend to Δ32 heterozygotes. The role played by this mutation in HIV-1 transmission to women was studied in 2605 participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. The Δ32 gene frequency was 0.026 for HIV-1–seropositive women and 0.040 for HIV-1–seronegative women, and statistical analyses showed that Δ32 heterozygotes were significantly less likely to be infected (odds ratio, 0.63 [95% confidence interval, 0.44–0.90]). The CCR5 Δ32 heterozygous genotype may confer partial protection against HIV-1 infection in women. Because Δ32 is rare in Africans and Asians, it seems plausible that differential genetic susceptibility, in addition to social and behavioral factors, may contribute to the rapid heterosexual spread of HIV-1 in Africa and Asia.
doi:10.1086/367995
PMCID: PMC3319124  PMID: 12599073
18.  The Impact of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) on Use of Highly Active Antiretroviral and Antihypertensive Therapy among HIV-Infected Women 
Objectives
To evaluate the association between enrollment into an AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) and use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and antihypertensive therapy.
Methods
Cross-sectional analyses of data were performed on HAART-eligible women enrolled in the California (n=439), Illinois (n=168), and New York (n=487) Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) sites. A subset of HIV-infected women with hypertension (n=395) was also analyzed. Unadjusted and adjusted backward stepwise elimination logistic regression measured the association between demographic, behavioral, and health service factors and non-use of HAART or antihypertensive medication.
Results
In adjusted analysis of HAART non-use, women without ADAP were significantly more likely not to use HAART (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5–3.7) than women with ADAP. In adjusted analysis of antihypertensive medication non-use, women without ADAP had an increased but not significant odds of antihypertensive medication non-use (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 0.93–6.0) than women with ADAP.
Conclusions
Government-funded programs for prescription drug coverage, such as ADAP, may play an important role in how HIV-positive women to access and use essential medications for chronic diseases.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31820a9d04
PMCID: PMC3042745  PMID: 21239994
AIDS; antiretroviral therapy; hypertension; women; healthcare disparity; prescription insurance
19.  Association of Pre-Treatment Nutritional Status with Change in CD4 Count after Antiretroviral Therapy at 6, 12, and 24 Months in Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e29625.
Background
Body mass index (BMI) independently predicts mortality in studies of HIV infected patients initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART). We hypothesized that poorer nutritional status would be associated with smaller gains in CD4 count in Rwandan women initiating ART.
Methods and Findings
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment, enrolled 710 ART-naïve HIV-positive and 226 HIV-negative women in 2005 with follow-up every 6 months. The outcome assessed in this study was change in CD4 count at 6, 12, and 24 months after ART initiation. Nutritional status measures taken prior to ART initiation were BMI; height adjusted fat free mass (FFMI); height adjusted fat mass (FMI), and sum of skinfold measurements. 475 women initiated ART. Mean (within 6 months) pre-ART CD4 count was 216 cells/µL. Prior to ART initiation, the mean (±SD) BMI was 21.6 (±3.78) kg/m2 (18.3% malnourished with BMI<18.5); and among women for whom the following were measured, mean FFMI was 17.10 (±1.76) kg/m2; FMI 4.7 (±3.5) kg/m2 and sum of skinfold measurements 4.9 (±2.7) cm. FFMI was significantly associated with a smaller change in CD4 count at 6 months in univariate analysis (−6.7 cells/uL per kg/m2, p  = 0.03) only. In multivariate analysis after adjustment for covariates, no nutritional variable was associated with change in CD4 count at any follow up visit.
Conclusion
In this cohort of African women initiating ART, no measure of malnutrition prior to ART was consistently associated with change in CD4 count at 6, 12, and 24 months of follow up, suggesting that poorer pre-treatment nutritional status does not prevent an excellent response to ART.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029625
PMCID: PMC3247268  PMID: 22216334
20.  CCR2 Genotype and Disease Progression in a Treated Population of HIV Type 1–Infected Women 
Both antiretroviral therapy and the human coreceptor polymorphism CCR2-V64I slow progression of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) disease. To examine the effect of V64I on disease progression in patients receiving therapy, we determined CCR2 genotypes in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study cohort. We studied 2047 HIV-1–infected women, most of whom initiated treatment during the study. No association was seen between CCR2 genotype and either disease progression or therapeutic response, suggesting that the benefits of treatment most likely overshadow the salutary effects of the V64I polymorphism.
doi:10.1086/423386
PMCID: PMC3164116  PMID: 15472820
21.  Associations of Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF)–I and IGF-Binding Protein–3 with HIV Disease Progression in Women 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;197(2):319-327.
Background
The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis has been hypothesized to influence the rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression. This premise is based largely on laboratory models showing that IGF-I stimulates thymic growth and increases lymphocyte numbers and that IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)–3 has an opposing effect, inhibiting hematopoietic stem cell development.
Methods
We studied 1422 HIV-infected women enrolled in a large cohort that entailed semiannual follow-up (initiated in 1994). Baseline serum samples were tested for IGF-I and IGFBP-3 to determine their associations with incident clinical acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and CD4+ T cell count decline prior to April 1996 (before the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]).
Results
Low IGF-I levels (Ptrend = .02) and high IGFBP-3 levels (Ptrend = .02) were associated with rapid CD4+ T cell count decline. Only IGFBP-3, however, was significantly associated with AIDS incidence (hazard ratio for highest vs. lowest quartile, 2.65 [95% confidence interval, 1.30–5.42]; Ptrend = .02) in multivariable models.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that serum levels of IGFBP-3 (and possibly IGF-I) are associated with the rate of HIV disease progression in women and, more broadly, that interindividual heterogeneity in the IGF axis may influence HIV pathogenesis. If correct, the IGF axis could be a target for interventions to slow HIV disease progression and extend the time before use of HAART becomes necessary.
doi:10.1086/524848
PMCID: PMC3127259  PMID: 18177247
22.  Prevalence of Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18352.
Background
In the United States, HIV-related kidney disease disproportionately affects individuals of African descent; however, there are few estimates of kidney disease prevalence in Africa. We evaluated the prevalence of kidney disease among HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women.
Methods
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment prospectively enrolled 936 women. Associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and proteinuria were assessed in separate logistic regression models.
Results
Among 891 non-pregnant women with available data, 2.4% had an eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2 (calculated by the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation, MDRD eGFR) and 8.7% had proteinuria ≥1+. The prevalence of decreased eGFR varied markedly depending on the estimating method used, with the highest prevalence by Cockcroft-Gault. Regardless of the method used to estimate GFR, the proportion with decreased eGFR or proteinuria did not differ significantly between HIV-infected and -uninfected women in unadjusted analysis. After adjusting for age and blood pressure, HIV infection was associated with significantly higher odds of decreased MDRD eGFR but not proteinuria.
Conclusion
In a well-characterized cohort of Rwandan women, HIV infection was associated with decreased MDRD eGFR. The prevalence of decreased eGFR among HIV-infected women in our study was lower than that previously reported in African-Americans and in other Central and East African HIV populations, although there was substantial variability depending on the equation used to estimate GFR. Future studies are needed to optimize GFR estimates and to determine the impact of antiretroviral therapy on kidney disease in this population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018352
PMCID: PMC3065469  PMID: 21464937
23.  Glycated Hemoglobin in Diabetic Women with and Without HIV Infection: Data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study 
Antiviral therapy  2010;15(4):571-577.
Background
Limited data suggest that glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c; A1C) values may not reflect glycemic control accurately in HIV-infected individuals with diabetes.
Methods
We evaluated repeated measures of paired fasting glucose and A1C values in 315 HIV-infected and 109 HIV-uninfected diabetic participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study. Generalized estimating equations used log A1C as the outcome variable, with adjustment for log fasting glucose concentration in all models.
Results
An HIV-infected woman on average had 0.9868 times as much A1C (that is, 1.32% lower; 95% confidence interval 0.9734-0.9904) as an HIV-uninfected woman with the same log fasting glucose concentration. In multivariate analysis, HIV serostatus was not associated, but white, other non-black race, and higher red blood cell mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were statistically associated with lower A1C values. Use of diabetic medication was associated with higher A1C values. In multivariate analysis restricted to HIV-infected women, white and other race, higher MCV, and HCV viremia were associated with lower A1C values whereas older age, use of diabetic medications and higher CD4 cell count were associated with higher A1C values. Use of combination antiretroviral therapy, protease inhibitors, zidovudine, stavudine, or abacavir was not associated with A1C values.
Conclusions
We conclude that A1C values were modestly lower in HIV-infected diabetic women relative to HIV-uninfected diabetic women after adjustment for fasting glucose concentration. The difference was abrogated by adjustment for MCV, race, and diabetic medication use. Our data suggest that in clinical practice A1C gives a reasonably accurate refection of glycemic control in HIV-infected diabetic women.
doi:10.3851/IMP1557
PMCID: PMC2943237  PMID: 20587850
24.  HIV Tropism and Decreased Risk of Breast Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14349.
Background
During the first two decades of the U.S. AIDS epidemic, and unlike some malignancies, breast cancer risk was significantly lower for women with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection compared to the general population. This deficit in HIV-associated breast cancer could not be attributed to differences in survival, immune deficiency, childbearing or other breast cancer risk factors. HIV infects mononuclear immune cells by binding to the CD4 molecule and to CCR5 or CXCR4 chemokine coreceptors. Neoplastic breast cells commonly express CXCR4 but not CCR5. In vitro, binding HIV envelope protein to CXCR4 has been shown to induce apoptosis of neoplastic breast cells. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that breast cancer risk would be lower among women with CXCR4-tropic HIV infection.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a breast cancer nested case-control study among women who participated in the WIHS and HERS HIV cohort studies with longitudinally collected risk factor data and plasma. Cases were HIV-infected women (mean age 46 years) who had stored plasma collected within 24 months of breast cancer diagnosis and an HIV viral load ≥500 copies/mL. Three HIV-infected control women, without breast cancer, were matched to each case based on age and plasma collection date. CXCR4-tropism was determined by a phenotypic tropism assay. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for breast cancer were estimated by exact conditional logistic regression. Two (9%) of 23 breast cancer cases had CXCR4-tropic HIV, compared to 19 (28%) of 69 matched controls. Breast cancer risk was significantly and independently reduced with CXCR4 tropism (adjusted odds ratio, 0.10, 95% CI 0.002–0.84) and with menopause (adjusted odds ratio, 0.08, 95% CI 0.001–0.83). Adjustment for CD4+ cell count, HIV viral load, and use of antiretroviral therapy did not attenuate the association between infection with CXCR4-tropic HIV and breast cancer.
Conclusions
Low breast cancer risk with HIV is specifically linked to CXCR4-using variants of HIV. These variants are thought to exclusively bind to and signal through a receptor that is commonly expressed on hyperplastic and neoplastic breast duct cells. Additional studies are needed to confirm these observations and to understand how CXCR4 might reduce breast cancer risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014349
PMCID: PMC3002931  PMID: 21179547
25.  Genital herpes evaluation by quantitative TaqMan PCR: correlating single detection and quantity of HSV-2 DNA in cervicovaginal lavage fluids with cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical data 
Virology Journal  2010;7:328.
Objective
To evaluate the utility of a single quantitative PCR (qPCR) measurement of HSV (HSV-1&2) DNA in cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) specimens collected from women with predominantly chronic HSV-2 infection in assessing genital HSV shedding and the clinical course of genital herpes (GH) within a cohort with semiannual schedule of follow up and collection of specimens.
Methods
Two previously described methods used for detection of HSV DNA in mucocutaneous swab samples were adapted for quantification of HSV DNA in CVLs. Single CVL specimens from 509 women were tested. Presence and quantity of CVL HSV DNA were explored in relation to observed cross-sectional and longitudinal clinical data.
Results
The PCR assay was sensitive and reproducible with a limit of quantification of ~50 copies per milliliter of CVL. Overall, 7% of the samples were positive for HSV-2 DNA with median log10 HSV-2 DNA copy number of 3.9 (IQR: 2.6-5.7). No HSV-1 was detected. Presence and quantity of HSV-2 DNA in CVL directly correlated with the clinical signs and symptoms of presence of active symptomatic disease with frequent recurrences.
Conclusion
Single qPCR measurement of HSV DNA in CVL fluids of women with chronic HSV-2 infection provided useful information for assessing GH in the setting of infrequent sampling of specimens. Observed positive correlation of the presence and quantity of HSV-2 DNA with the presence of active and more severe course of HSV-2 infection may have clinical significance in the evaluation and management of HSV-2 infected patients.
doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-328
PMCID: PMC3000844  PMID: 21087488

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