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1.  The Impact of HIV Status, HIV Disease Progression and Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms on the Health-Related Quality of Life of Rwandan Women Genocide Survivors 
We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical and behavioral characteristics.
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall QOL than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
PMCID: PMC4084826  PMID: 23271207
Quality of Life; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; HIV; Women; Rwanda
2.  Food Insecurity with Hunger Is Associated with Obesity among HIV-Infected and at Risk Women in Bronx, NY 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105957.
Food insecurity, insufficient quality and quantity of nutritionally adequate food, affects millions of people in the United States (US) yearly, with over 18 million Americans reporting hunger. Food insecurity is associated with obesity in the general population. Due to the increasing prevalence of obesity and risk factors for cardiovascular disease among HIV-infected women, we sought to determine the relationship between food insecurity and obesity in this cohort of urban, HIV-infected and –uninfected but at risk women.
Using a cross-sectional design, we collected data on food insecurity, body mass index and demographic and clinical data from 231 HIV-infected and 119 HIV-negative women enrolled in Bronx site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). We used multivariate logistic regression to identify factors associated with obesity.
Food insecurity was highly prevalent, with almost one third of women (110/350, 31%) reporting food insecurity over the previous six months and over 13% of women reported food insecurity with hunger. Over half the women were obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥30. In multivariate analyses, women who were food insecure with hunger had higher odds of obesity (Adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 2.56, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.27, 5.20) after adjusting for HIV status, age, race, household status, income, drug and alcohol use.
Food insecurity with hunger was associated with obesity in this population of HIV-infected and –uninfected, urban women. Both food insecurity and obesity are independent markers for increased mortality; further research is needed to understand this relationship and their role in adverse health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4146558  PMID: 25162598
3.  Plasma and Mucosal HIV Viral Loads Are Associated with Genital Tract Inflammation In HIV-Infected Women 
Systemic and mucosal inflammation may play a role in HIV control. A cross-sectional comparison was conducted among women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to explore the hypothesis that compared to HIV-uninfected participants, women with HIV and in particular, those with high plasma viral load (PVL) have increased levels of mucosal and systemic inflammatory mediators and impaired mucosal endogenous antimicrobial activity.
19 HIV-uninfected, 40 HIV-infected on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with PVL ≤ 2600 copies/ml (low viral load) (HIV+-LVL), and 19 HIV-infected on or off ART with PVL >10,000 (high viral load) (HIV+-HVL) were evaluated. Immune mediators and viral RNA were quantified in plasma and cervicovaginal lavage (CVL). CVL antimicrobial activity was also determined.
Compared to HIV-uninfected, HIV+-HVL women had higher levels of mucosal, but not systemic pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, higher Nugent scores, and lower E. coli bactericidal activity. In contrast, there were no significant differences between HIV+-LVL and HIV-uninfected controls. After adjusting for PVL, HIV genital tract shedding was significantly associated with higher CVL concentrations of IL-6, IL-1β, MIP-1α, and RANTES and higher plasma concentrations of MIP-1α. High PVL was associated with higher CVL levels of IL-1β and RANTES, as well as with higher Nugent scores, lower E. coli bactericidal activity, smoking and lower CD4 counts; smoking and CD4 count retained statistical significance in a multivariate model.
Further study is needed to determine if the relationship between mucosal inflammation and PVL is causal and to determine if reducing mucosal inflammation is beneficial.
PMCID: PMC3706034  PMID: 23591635
HIV; HSV; mucosal immunity; inflammation; female genital tract; WIHS
4.  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.
PMCID: PMC3652915  PMID: 23221984
5.  Differences in the Nonuse of any Contraception and Use of Specific Contraceptive Methods in HIV Positive and HIV Negative Rwandan Women 
AIDS Research and Treatment  2012;2012:367604.
Contraception can reduce the dual burden of high fertility and high HIV prevalence in sub-Sahara Africa, but significant barriers remain regarding access and use. We describe factors associated with nonuse of contraception and with use of specific contraceptive methods in HIV positive and HIV negative Rwandan women. Data from 395 HIV-positive and 76 HIV-negative women who desired no pregnancy in the previous 6 months were analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression models to identify clinical and demographic characteristics that predict contraceptive use. Differences in contraceptive methods used were dependent on marital/partner status, partner's knowledge of a woman's HIV status, and age. Overall, condoms, abstinence, and hormonal methods were the most used, though differences existed by HIV status. Less than 10% of women both HIV+ and HIV− used no contraception. Important differences exist between HIV-positive and HIV-negative women with regard to contraceptive method use that should be addressed by interventions seeking to improve contraceptive prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3533450  PMID: 23304468
6.  Improvement in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Postconflict Rwandan Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2011;20(9):1325-1332.
Depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common in developing and postconflict countries. The purpose of this study is to examine longitudinal changes in PTSD in HIV-infected and uninfected Rwandan women who experienced the 1994 genocide.
Five hundred thirty-five HIV-positive and 163 HIV-negative Rwandan women in an observational cohort study were followed for 18 months. Data on PTSD symptoms were collected longitudinally by the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and analyzed in relationship to demographics, HIV status, antiretroviral treatment (ART), and depression. PTSD was defined as a score on the HTQ of ≥2.
There was a continuing reduction in HTQ scores at each follow-up visit. The prevalence of PTSD symptoms changed significantly, with 61% of the cohort having PTSD at baseline vs. 24% after 18 months. Women with higher HTQ score were most likely to have improvement in PTSD symptoms (p<0.0001). Higher rate of baseline depressive symptoms (p<0.0001) was associated with less improvement in PTSD symptoms. HIV infection and ART were not found to be consistently related to PTSD improvement.
HIV care settings can become an important venue for the identification and treatment of psychiatric problems affecting women with HIV in postconflict and developing countries. Providing opportunities for women with PTSD symptoms to share their history of trauma to trained counselors and addressing depression, poverty, and ongoing violence may contribute to reducing symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3168969  PMID: 21732802
7.  Association of Serum Albumin with Markers of Nutritional Status among HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35079.
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.
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).
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3331977  PMID: 22532840
Antiviral therapy  2011;16(4):591-596.
We previously reported an increased risk of all-cause and AIDS mortality among HIV-infected women with albuminuria (proteinuria or microalbuminuria) enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) prior to the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
The current analysis includes 1,073 WIHS participants who subsequently initiated HAART. Urinalysis for proteinuria and semi-quantitative testing for microalbuminuria from two consecutive study visits prior to HAART initiation were categorized as follows: confirmed proteinuria (both specimens positive for protein), confirmed microalbuminuria (both specimens positive with at least one microalbuminuria), unconfirmed albuminuria (one specimen positive for proteinuria or microalbuminuria), or negative (both specimens negative). Time from HAART initiation to death was modeled using proportional hazards analysis.
Compared to the reference group of women with two negative specimens, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality was significantly elevated for women with confirmed microalbuminuria (HR 1.9; 95% CI 1.2–2.9). Confirmed microalbuminuria was also independently associated with AIDS death (HR 2.3; 95% CI 1.3–4.3), while women with confirmed proteinuria were at increased risk for non-AIDS death (HR 2.4; 95% CI 1.2–4.6).
In women initiating HAART, pre-existing microalbuminuria independently predicted increased AIDS mortality, while pre-existing proteinuria predicted increased risk of non-AIDS death. Urine testing may identify HIV-infected individuals at increased risk for mortality even after the initiation of HAART. Future studies should consider whether these widely available tests can identify individuals who would benefit from more aggressive management of HIV infection and comorbid conditions associated with mortality in this population.
PMCID: PMC3119869  PMID: 21685547
HIV; microalbuminuria; proteinuria; mortality; non-AIDS death
9.  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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3247268  PMID: 22216334
10.  Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment in HIV-Infected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27832.
Scale-up of highly active antiretroviral treatment therapy (HAART) programs in Rwanda has been highly successful but data on adherence is limited. We examined HAART adherence in a large cohort of HIV+ Rwandan women.
The Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study Assessment (RWISA) was a prospective cohort study that assessed effectiveness and toxicity of ART. We analyzed patient data 12±3 months after HAART initiation to determine adherence rates in HIV+ women who had initiated HAART.
Of the 710 HIV+ women at baseline, 490 (87.2%) initiated HAART. Of these, 6 (1.2%) died within 12 months, 15 others (3.0%) discontinued the study and 80 others (19.0%) remained in RWISA but did not have a post-HAART initiation visit that fell within the 12±3 month time points leaving 389 subjects for analysis. Of these 389, 15 women stopped their medications without being advised to do so by their doctors. Of the remaining 374 persons who reported current HAART use 354 completed the adherence assessment. All women, 354/354, reported 100% adherence to HAART at the post-HAART visit. The high self-reported level of adherence is supported by changes in laboratory measures that are influenced by HAART. The median (interquartile range) CD4 cell count measured within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 185 (128, 253) compared to 264 (182, 380) cells/mm3 at the post-HAART visit. Similarly, the median (interquartile range) MCV within 6 months prior to HAART initiation was 88 (83, 93) fL compared to 104 (98, 110) fL at the 12±3 month visit.
Self-reported adherence to antiretroviral treatment 12±3 months after initiating therapy was 100% in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women. Future studies should explore country-specific factors that may be contributing to high levels of adherence to HAART in this population.
PMCID: PMC3219684  PMID: 22114706
11.  Fracture incidence in HIV-infected women: results from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(17):2679-2686.
The clinical importance of the association of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) with low bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women is uncertain because BMD stabilizes on established ART and fracture data are limited.
We measured time to first new fracture at any site with median follow-up of 5.4 years in 2391 (1728 HIV-infected, 663 HIV-uninfected) participants in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Self-report of fracture was recorded at semiannual visits. Proportional hazard models assessed predictors of incident fracture.
At baseline, HIV-infected women were older (40 ± 9 vs. 36 ± 10 years, P <0.0001), more likely to report postmenopausal status and be hepatitis C virus-infected, and weighed less than HIV-uninfected women. Among HIV-infected women, mean CD4+ cell count was 482 cells/μl; 66% were taking ART. Unadjusted incidence of fracture did not differ between HIV-infected and uninfected women (1.8 vs. 1.4/100 person-years, respectively, P = 0.18). In multivariate models, white (vs. African-American) race, hepatitis C virus infection, and higher serum creatinine, but not HIV serostatus, were statistically significant predictors of incident fracture. Among HIV-infected women, older age, white race, current cigarette use, and history of AIDS-defining illness were associated with incidence of new fracture.
Among predominantly premenopausal women, there was little difference in fracture incidence rates by HIV status, rather traditional risk factors were important predictors. Further research is necessary to characterize fracture risk in HIV-infected women during and after the menopausal transition.
PMCID: PMC3108019  PMID: 20859192
fracture; fragility fracture; HIV-infected women; premenopausal
Prevalence of microalbuminuria is increased in patients with HIV. Microalbuminuria is associated with increased mortality in other populations, including diabetics, for whom microalbuminuria testing is standard of care. We investigated whether microalbuminuria is associated with mortality in HIV-infected women not receiving antiretroviral therapy.
Urinalysis for proteinuria and semi-quantitative testing for microalbuminuria were performed in specimens from two consecutive visits in 1,547 HIV-infected women enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study in 1994–1995. Time to death was modeled using proportional hazards analysis.
Compared to women without albuminuria, the hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality was increased in women with one (HR 3.4; 95% CI 2.2–5.2) or two specimens positive for either proteinuria or microalbuminuria (HR 3.9; 95% CI 2.1–7.0). The highest risk was observed in women with both specimens positive for proteinuria (HR 5.8; 95% CI 3.4–9.8). The association between albuminuria and all-cause mortality risk remained significant after adjustment for demographics, HIV disease severity, and related comorbidities. Similar results were obtained for AIDS death.
We identified a graded relationship between albuminuria and the risk of all-cause and AIDS mortality.
PMCID: PMC2888617  PMID: 20098331
HIV; microalbuminuria; proteinuria; mortality
13.  The Effects of Opiate Use and Hepatitis C Virus Infection on Risk of Diabetes Mellitus in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Opiate use is common in HIV- and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals, however its contribution to the risk of diabetes mellitus is not well understood.
Prospective study of 1,713 HIV-infected and 652 uninfected participants from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study between October 2000 and March 2006. Diabetes defined as fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dl, or self-report of diabetes medication use or confirmed diabetes diagnosis. Opiate use determined using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Detectable plasma HCV RNA confirmed HCV infection.
Current opiate users had a higher prevalence of diabetes (15%) than non-users (10%, p=.03), as well as a higher risk of incident diabetes (adjusted relative hazard [RHadj] 1.58, 95% CI 1.01, 2.46), after controlling for HCV infection, HIV/antiretroviral therapy status and diabetes risk factors including age, race/ethnicity, family history of diabetes and body mass index. HCV infection was also an independent risk factor for diabetes (RHadj 1.61, 95% CI 1.02, 2.52). HCV-infected women reporting current opiate use had the highest diabetes incidence (4.83 cases/100 person-years).
Among women with or at-risk for HIV, opiate use is associated with increased diabetes risk independently of HCV infection. Diabetic screening should be part of care for opiate users, and those infected with HCV.
PMCID: PMC3069645  PMID: 20190642
opiate use; diabetes mellitus; fasting glucose; Hepatitis C virus; HIV; women
14.  Prevalence of Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e18352.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3065469  PMID: 21464937
15.  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.
Limited data suggest that glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c; A1C) values may not reflect glycemic control accurately in HIV-infected individuals with diabetes.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2943237  PMID: 20587850
16.  Prevalence and Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression in HIV-Infected and At-Risk Rwandan Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(11):1783-1791.
During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, rape was used as a weapon of war to transmit HIV. This study measures trauma experiences of Rwandan women and identifies predictors associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depressive symptoms.
The Rwandan Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA) is a prospective observational cohort study designed to assess effectiveness and toxicity of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected Rwandan women. In 2005, a Rwandan-adapted Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) were used to assess genocide trauma events and prevalence of PTSD (HTQ mean >2) and depressive symptoms (CES-D ≥ 16) for 850 women (658 HIV-positive and 192 HIV-negative).
PTSD was common in HIV-positive (58%) and HIV-negative women (66%) (p = 0.05). Women with HIV had a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms than HIV-negative women (81% vs. 65%, p < 0.0001). Independent predictors for increased PTSD were experiencing more genocide-related trauma events and having more depressive symptoms. Independent predictors for increased depressive symptoms were making <$18 a month, HIV infection (and, among HIV-positive women, having lower CD4 cell counts), a history of genocidal rape, and having more PTSD symptoms.
The prevalence of PTSD and depressive symptoms is high in women in the RWISA cohort. Four of five HIV-infected women had depressive symptoms, with highest rates among women with CD4 cell counts <200. In addition to treatment with antiretroviral therapy, economic empowerment and identification and treatment of depression and PTSD may reduce morbidity and mortality among women in postconflict countries.
PMCID: PMC2828188  PMID: 19951212
17.  Risk Factors for Cervical Precancer and Cancer in HIV-Infected, HPV-Positive Rwandan Women 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13525.
Although cervical cancer is an AIDS-defining condition, infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) may only modestly increase the risk of cervical cancer. There is a paucity of information regarding factors that influence the natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) in HIV-infected women. We examined factors associated with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or cancer (CIN3+) in Rwandan women infected with both HIV and HPV (HIV+/HPV+).
In 2005, 710 HIV+ Rwandan women ≥25 years enrolled in an observational cohort study; 476 (67%) tested HPV+. Each woman provided sociodemographic data, CD4 count, a cervical cytology specimen and cervicovaginal lavage (CVL), which was tested for >40 HPV genotypes by MY09/MY11 PCR assay. Logistic regression models calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of associations of potential risk factors for CIN3+ among HIV+/HPV+ women.
Of the 476 HIV+/HPV+ women 42 (8.8%) were diagnosed with CIN3+. Factors associated with CIN3+ included ≥7 (vs. 0-2) pregnancies, malarial infection in the previous six months (vs. never), and ≥7 (vs. 0-2) lifetime sexual partners. Compared to women infected by non-HPV16 carcinogenic HPV genotypes, HPV16 infection was positively associated and non-carcinogenic HPV infection was inversely associated with CIN3+. CD4 count was significantly associated with CIN3+ only in analyses of women with non-HPV16 carcinogenic HPV (OR = 0.62 per 100 cells/mm3, CI = 0.40-0.97).
In this HIV+/HPV+ population, lower CD4 was significantly associated with CIN3+ only in women infected with carcinogenic non-HPV16. We found a trend for higher risk of CIN3+ in HIV+ women reporting recent malarial infection; this association should be investigated in a larger group of HIV+/HPV+ women.
PMCID: PMC2958122  PMID: 20976000
18.  Brief Report: Plasma Homocysteine is Not Associated with HIV Serostatus or Antiretroviral Therapy in Women 
The effects of HIV serostatus and combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) on plasma homocysteine (Hcy) are uncertain.
Plasma Hcy was assayed in a cross-sectional study of 249 HIV-infected and 127 HIV-uninfected women at the Bronx Women’s Interagency HIV Study site.
Mean plasma Hcy was 7.42 ± 2.68 in HIV-infected and 7.18 ± 2.66 µmol/L in HIV-uninfected women (P = 0.40). Hyperhomocysteinemia (defined as Hcy > 10 µmol/L) was seen in 16.9% and 13.4 % of HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women, respectively (P=0.45). Among HIV-infected women, cART use was not associated with Hcy level. Compared to the lowest quartile, women with Hcy in the highest quartile had lower mean serum vitamin B12 and RBC folate levels. In multivariate analysis that did not include micronutrient levels, age, serum creatinine and lower CD4% were significantly associated with plasma Hcy level in HIV-infected women.
Plasma Hcy was not associated with HIV serostatus or use of cART in this cross-sectional study. Reduced availability of folate cofactors for Hcy remethylation in HIV-infected women with lower folate intake and decreased health status may influence Hcy levels.
PMCID: PMC2755615  PMID: 19333128
Homocysteine; HIV; women; vitamin B12; folate
19.  Human Papillomavirus Infection and Cervical Cytology in HIV-Infected and HIV-Uninfected Rwandan Women 
Data on human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence are essential for developing cost-effective cervical cancer prevention programs.
In 2005, 710 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive and 226 HIV-negative Rwandan women enrolled in an observational prospective cohort study. Sociodemographic data, CD4+ cell counts, and cervical specimens were obtained. Cervicovaginal lavage specimens were collected from each woman and tested for >40 HPV types by a polymerase chain reaction assay; HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, and 68 were considered primary carcinogenic HPV types.
The prevalence of HPV was higher in HIV-positive women than in HIV-negative women in all age groups. Among HIV-infected women, 69% were positive for ≥1 HPV type, 46% for a carcinogenic HPV type, and 10% for HPV-16. HPV prevalence peaked at 75% in the HIV-positive women aged 25–34 years and then declined with age to 37.5% in those ≥55 years old (Ptrend < .001). A significant trend of higher prevalence of HPV and carcinogenic HPV with lower CD4+ cell counts and increasing cytologic severity was seen among HIV-positive women.
We found a higher prevalence of HPV infection in HIV-positive than in HIV-negative Rwandan women, and the prevalence of HPV and carcinogenic HPV infection decreased with age.
PMCID: PMC2814215  PMID: 19435429
20.  Oxidant Stress in HIV-Infected Women from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Antiviral therapy  2009;14(6):763-769.
Oxidant stress contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple conditions and can be assessed by measuring plasma F2-isoprostane concentrations. We hypothesized that oxidant stress is associated with plasma homocysteine concentration and risk factors for atherosclerosis in HIV-infected women.
We measured plasma F2-isoprostane concentrations in a cross-sectional study of 249 HIV-infected women attending the Bronx site of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study and assessed associations with plasma homocysteine concentration and other metabolic parameters by linear regression.
In multivariate analysis, HCV viremia, waist circumference, homocysteine concentration, and serum aspartate transanimase level were positively associated with log F2-isoprostane concentration (all P < 0.005). There was a trend for an inverse association between log F2-isoprostane and CD4% (P = 0.06). Among women with HCV infection, the FIB-4 index, an indirect marker of liver fibrosis derived from routine laboratory tests, was positively associated with log F2-isoprostane concentration.
In this cross-sectional study of HIV-infected women, plasma F2-isoprostane concentration was positively associated with homocysteine concentration, as well as HCV infection, abdominal obesity, and aspartate transaminase level.
PMCID: PMC2760028  PMID: 19812438
Oxidant stress; oxidative stress; F2-isoprostanes; homocysteine; HIV; HCV
21.  Association of self-reported race with AIDS death in continuous HAART users in a cohort of HIV-infected women in the United States 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(15):2413-2423.
To assess the association of race with clinical outcomes in HIV-positive women on continuous HAART.
Prospective study that enrolled women from 1994 to 1995 and 2001 to 2002.
Women's Interagency HIV Study, a community-based cohort in five US cities.
One thousand, four hundred and seventy-one HIV-positive continuous HAART users.
Main outcome measures:
Times to AIDS and non-AIDS death and incident AIDS-defining illness (ADI) after HAART initiation.
In adjusted analyses, black vs. white women had higher rates of AIDS death [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.14, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.30, 3.50; P = 0.003] and incident ADI (aHR 1.58, 95% CI 1.08, 2.32; P = 0.02), but not non-AIDS death (aHR 0.91, 95% CI 0.59, 1.39; P = 0.65). Cumulative AIDS death incidence at 10 years was 17.3 and 8.3% for black and white women, respectively. Other significant independent pre-HAART predictors of AIDS death included peak viral load (aHR 1.70 per log10, 95% CI 1.34, 2.16; P < 0.001), nadir CD4+ cell count (aHR 0.65 per 100 cells/μl, 95% CI 0.56, 0.76; P < 0.001), depressive symptoms by Center for Epidemiology Studies Depression score at least 16 (aHR 2.10, 95% CI 1.51, 2.92; P < 0.001), hepatitis C virus infection (aHR 1.57, 95% CI 1.02, 2.40; P = 0.04), and HIV acquisition via transfusion (aHR 2.33, 95% CI 1.21, 4.49; P = 0.01). In models with time-updated HAART adherence, association of race with AIDS death remained statistically significant (aHR 3.09, 95% CI 1.38, 6.93; P = 0.006).
In continuous HAART-using women, black women more rapidly died from AIDS or experienced incident ADI than their white counterparts after adjusting for confounders. Future studies examining behavioral and biologic factors in these women may further the understanding of HAART prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3815041  PMID: 24037210
AIDS; HAART; HIV; race; survival; women

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