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1.  Lower Liver-Related Death in African American Women With HIV/HCV Co-Infection Compared to Caucasian and Hispanic Women 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(5):1699-1705.
Among individuals with and without concurrent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), racial/ethnic differences in the natural history of hepatitis C virus (HCV) have been described. African-Americans have lower spontaneous HCV clearance than Caucasians, yet slower rates of liver fibrosis once chronically infected. It is not clear how these differences in the natural history of hepatitis C affect mortality, in either HIV positive or negative individuals. We conducted a cohort study of HIV/HCV co-infected women followed in the multicenter, NIH-funded Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) to determine the association of self-reported race/ethnicity with all-cause and liver-related mortality. Survival analyses were performed using Cox proportional hazards models. The eligible cohort (n=794) included 140 Caucasians, 159 Hispanics, and 495 African Americans. There were 438 deaths and 49 liver-related deaths during a median follow-up of 8.9 years and maximum follow-up of 16 years. African American co-infected women had significantly lower liver-related mortality compared to Caucasian (HR 0.41 95% CI 0.19–0.88, p=0.022) and Hispanic co-infected women (HR 0.38 95% CI 0.19–0.76, p=0.006). All-cause mortality was similar between racial/ethnic groups (HRs for all comparisons 0.82–1.03, logrank p=0.8).
Conclusions
African American co-infected women were much less likely to die from liver disease as compared to Caucasians and Hispanics, independent of other causes of death. Future studies are needed to investigate the reasons for this marked racial/ethnic discrepancy in liver-related mortality.
doi:10.1002/hep.25859
PMCID: PMC3440547  PMID: 22618868
race; ethnicity; viral hepatitis; mortality; gender
2.  Racial/Ethnic Differences in Spontaneous HCV Clearance in HIV Infected and Uninfected Women 
Digestive diseases and sciences  2012;58(5):1341-1348.
Background/Aims
Among individuals without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), African Americans have lower spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) than Caucasians, and women have higher clearance than men. Few studies report racial/ethnic differences in acute HCV in HIV infected, or Hispanic women. We examined racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance in a population of HCV mono- and co-infected women.
Methods
We conducted a cross sectional study of HCV seropositive women (897 HIV infected and 168 HIV uninfected) followed in the US multicenter, NIH-funded Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), to determine the association of race/ethnicity with spontaneous HCV clearance, as defined by undetectable HCV RNA at study entry.
Results
Among HIV and HCV seropositive women, 18.7 % were HCV RNA negative, 60.9 % were African American, 19.3 % Hispanic and 17.7 % Caucasian. HIV infected African American women were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanic (OR 0.59, 95 % CI 0.38–0.93, p = 0.022) or Caucasian women (OR 0.57, 95 % CI 0.36–0.93, p = 0.023). Among HIV uninfected women, African Americans had less HCV clearance than Hispanics (OR 0.18, 95 % CI 0.07–0.48, p = 0.001) or Caucasians (OR 0.26, 95 % CI 0.09–0.79, p = 0.017). There were no significant differences in HCV clearance between Hispanics and Caucasians, among either HIV infected (OR 0.97, 95 % CI 0.57–1.66, p = 0.91) or uninfected (OR 1.45, 95 % CI 0.56–3.8, p = 0.45) women.
Conclusions
African Americans were less likely to spontaneously clear HCV than Hispanics or Caucasians, regardless of HIV status. No significant differences in spontaneous HCV clearance were observed between Caucasian and Hispanic women. Future studies incorporating IL28B genotype may further explain these observed racial/ethnic differences in spontaneous HCV clearance.
doi:10.1007/s10620-012-2486-8
PMCID: PMC3663918  PMID: 23179159
African American; Hispanic; Acute hepatitis C; Female
3.  Association between Syphilis, Antibodies to Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2, and Recreational Drug Use and Hepatitis B Virus Infection in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study 
Background
Liver disease is a leading cause of death in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected women; however, risk factors for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in this population have not been well studied.
Methods
We describe the seroprevalence and predictors of HBV infection in a cross-sectional analysis of 2132 women with and at risk for HIV infection enrolled in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study during the periods 1994–95 and 2001–02. Any test result positive for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen defined infection; those women with serological evidence of vaccine immunity were excluded from analysis. Women were stratified into those with a history of injection drug use (IDU), those with a history of noninjection drug use (non-IDU), and those with no history of illicit drug use.
Results
Of 1606 HIV-infected and 526 HIV-uninfected women, 7% and 12%, respectively, appeared to be vaccine immune. After exclusion of these women, 43% of 1500 HIV-infected and 22% of 461 HIV-uninfected women had HBV infection. HBV infection prevalence differed among the IDU, non-IDU, and no illicit drug use groups (76%, 30%, and 17%, respectively; P < .0001). HBV infection was strongly associated with herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) seropositivity in the IDU group (odds ratio [OR], 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6–5.4) and with a history of syphilis in the non-IDU group (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.4–5.0).
Discussion
We found a high prevalence of HBV infection in our cohort of women with and at risk for HIV infection. HSV-2 seropositivity and a history of syphilis appeared to be important correlates of HBV infection. Sexual transmission of HBV, particularly in those with a history of genital ulcer disease, should be a major focus of education in all high-risk groups.
doi:10.1086/424879
PMCID: PMC3118996  PMID: 15494914
4.  Increased Circulating Interleukin-7 Levels in HIV-1–Infected Women 
Summary
Sex-based differences in CD4 T-cell (CD4) counts are well recognized, but the basis for these differences has not been identified. Conceivably, homeostatic factors may play a role in this process by regulating T-cell maintenance and repletion. Interleukin (IL)-7 is essential for normal T-cell production and homeostasis. We hypothesized that differences in IL-7 might contribute to sex-based differences in CD4 counts. Circulating IL-7 levels were analyzed in 299 HIV-1–infected women and men. Regression analysis estimated that IL-7 levels were 40% higher in women than in men (P = 0.0032) after controlling for CD4 count, age, and race. Given the important role of IL-7 in T-cell development and homeostasis, these findings suggest that higher IL-7 levels may contribute to higher CD4 counts in women.
PMCID: PMC3119025  PMID: 16284535
interleukin-7; sexual dimorphism; CD4-positive T cells; cytokines; sex differences

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