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1.  Estonia at the Threshold of the Fourth Decade of the AIDS Era in Europe 
Abstract
This article describes the trends of HIV/AIDS and related conditions in Estonia during the past decade (2000–2009), with special focus on the potential for epidemic transition. Key transmission determinants and major risk groups are examined and problems and barriers to fighting HIV/AIDS with possible applications in prevention and control are described. Estonian routine data sources and published literature were reviewed, supplemented with information from personal communication with physicians and public health specialists. For comparative European data, international HIV/AIDS and drug addiction surveillance documents, administrative data, and published literature were reviewed. In Eastern Europe (including Estonia) the predominant HIV transmission mode is injection drug use (IDU), closely followed by heterosexual transmission, an increasing risk factor for new cases. Although the contribution of cases acquired by sexual contact with high-risk partners such as IDUs is not known, characteristics of the sexual networks of IDUs may be important in determining the evolution of the HIV/AIDS epidemics in the region. In Estonia, despite major gaps in available data, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still presumably confined to IDUs (and probably, to their sexual partners). In Eastern Europe, young women in IDU–non-IDU partnerships engaging in unprotected sex potentially serve as a bridge to the general population, yet knowledge of and research into the population characteristics and potential magnitude of bridging are limited. In Estonia, as in other Eastern European countries, HIV prevention and harm reduction initiatives should be tailored not only to the predominantly male HIV-positive IDU population, but also to their noninfected non-IDU female sexual partners.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0223
PMCID: PMC3180763  PMID: 21142588
2.  Elevated NT-pro-BNP Levels Are Associated with Comorbidities among HIV-Infected Women 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2009;25(10):997-1004.
Abstract
HIV infection is associated with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and accelerated atherosclerosis. These conditions result in elevation of plasma natriuretic peptide (NP) levels. The present study compares N-terminal-pro-BNP (NT-pro-BNP) levels in HIV-infected and -uninfected women and identifies factors influencingNT-pro-BNP levels in HIV-infected women. A total of 454 HIV-infected and 200 HIV-uninfected participants from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) had NT-pro-BNP determination. Elevated NT-pro-BNP level was defined using previously determined age stratified cut-off values of >164 ng/liter (age <60 years) and >225 (age ≥ 60 years). HIV-infected women were older (41.6 ± 8.9 vs. 38.9 ± 10.5 years, p < 0.01) and were more likely to have anemia, hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies, and kidney dysfunction than HIV-uninfected women. HIV-infected women had significantly higher NT-pro-BNP levels (142.4 ± 524.8 vs. 73.6 ± 115.1 ng/liter, p = 0.01) and a higher prevalence of elevated NT-pro-BNP (12.1% vs. 7.5%; p = 0.08). In univariate analyses, elevated NT-pro-BNP was significantly associated with age, systolic BP, hypertension, anemia, triglyceride levels, kidney disease, and HCV seropositivity, but not HIV infection. In multivariate analysis, elevated NT-pro-BNP levels were significantly associated with anemia and kidney function, and had a borderline association with the presence of HCV antibodies. Among HIV-infected women, NT-pro-BNP levels were not independently associated with measures of severity of infection or with HAART use. Although HIV-infected women have higher NT-pro-BNP levels than HIV-uninfected women, the differences are due to non-HIV factors such as anemia, kidney disease, and HCV coinfection. These findings suggest that natriuretic peptide levels are a global marker of comorbidity in the setting of HIV infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2009.0038
PMCID: PMC2791362  PMID: 19803714
3.  The Association of HIV Infection with Left Ventricular Mass/Hypertrophy 
Abstract
Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is an independent predictor of major cardiovascular events. Cardiovascular risk is increased among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. To assess LV mass/hypertrophy in HIV infection, 654 women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study underwent transthoracic echocardiography. There were 454 HIV-infected and 200 uninfected women, mean age 40.8 ± 9.3 years. LV mass/height2.7 was similar between the HIV-infected and the HIV-uninfected groups (41.4 ± 11.1 vs. 39.9 ± 10.3 g/h2.7; p = 0.37). The prevalence of LVH was similar between the two groups (LVH by LV mass/height2.7 criteria 15.0% vs. 13.0%, p = 0.29). Relative wall thickness (RWT), defined as the ratio of LV wall thickness to cavity diameter, was also similar between the HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected groups (0.36 ± 0.05 vs. 0.37 ± 0.06, p = 0.16). On multiple linear regression analysis adjusting for age, W/H ratio, triceps skinfold thickness, systolic/diastolic BP, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia; HIV status (b = 2.08, p = 0.02, CI 0.27–3.88); weight (b per kg = 0.15, p < 0.01, CI 0.08–0.22); and smoking duration (b per one-year increase = 0.08, p = 0.03, CI 0.01–0.16) were independent correlates of LV mass/height2.7 (Model R2 = 0.20, p < 0.001). Weight (aOR = 1.04, CI 1.01–1.06) and smoking duration (aOR = 1.03, CI 1.01–1.06) were independent correlates of LVH. Being HIV negative, increased age, increased triceps skinfold thickness, and higher W/H ratio were independent correlates of higher RWT. Among HIV-infected women, higher LV mass was not associated with a history of AIDS-defining illness, nadir CD4+ count <200 cells/μl, or with the duration of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Women taking NRTIs had higher LV mass. Higher RWT was associated with current CD4+ count. In conclusion, HIV infection is associated with greater LV mass but not with a higher prevalence of LVH. Among HIV-infected women, RWT, but not LV mass, is associated with the degree of immunosuppression.
doi:10.1089/aid.2008.0170
PMCID: PMC2801578  PMID: 19397399

Results 1-3 (3)