Journal Article

Natural History and Risk Factors Associated with Early and Established HIV Type 1 Infection among Reproductive-Age Women in Malawi

Johnstone J. Kumwenda, Bonus Makanani, Frank Taulo, Chiwawa Nkhoma, George Kafulafula, Qing Li, Newton Kumwenda and Taha E. Taha

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 46, issue 12, pages 1913-1920
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/588478
Natural History and Risk Factors Associated with Early and Established HIV Type 1 Infection among Reproductive-Age Women in Malawi

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Background. Data evaluating the biological events and determinants of early human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are limited in sub-Saharan Africa. We examined plasma viral levels and trends during early and established HIV-1 infection among reproductive-age women who participated in a randomized trial to treat genital tract infection in Malawi. We also assessed the association of injectable hormonal contraceptive use with HIV-1 infection.

Methods. We studied 3 groups of women who were infected or uninfected with HIV-1: seroconverters, seroprevalent women, and seronegative women. Questionnaires and blood samples were collected at baseline and every 3 months for 1 year. The virus set point in seroconverters and levels and trends of viral load over time were determined. The associations of injectable hormonal contraceptive use with HIV-1 infection and viral load were assessed using conditional logistic regression and mixed-effect models, respectively.

Results. In the original clinical trial, 844 women infected with HIV-1 and 842 women not infected with HIV-1 were enrolled. Of 31 women who experienced seroconversion during 12 months, 27 were matched with 54 seroprevalent and 54 seronegative women. The estimated median plasma virus set point was 4.45 log10 copies/mL (interquartile range, 4.32–5.14 log10 copies/mL). Injectable hormonal contraceptive use was significantly associated with HIV-1 seroconversion (adjusted odds ratio, 10.42; P=.03) but not with established HIV-1 infection. Among the seroconverters, a statistically significant interaction was found between the linear association of viral load and time of injectable hormonal contraceptive use (regression coefficient, −0.14; P=.02).

Conclusion. Knowledge of virus set point and trends of viral load in HIV-1 seroincident and seroprevalent asymptomatic women could assist in antiretroviral treatment management.

Journal Article.  4198 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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