Evaluation of possible effects of continued drug use on HIV progression among women

Anne M. Rompalo, Nina Shah, Joseph B. Margolick, Homayoon Farzadegan, Julia Arnsten, Paula Schuman, Josiah D. Rich, Lytt I. Gardner, Dawn K. Smith, David Vlahov

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9 Scopus citations


Data from a prospective, multi-centred study of HIV infection in women (HIV Epidemiology Research Study [HERS]) was analysed to investigate the effect of continued injection drug use behaviours on progression to AIDS. All women enrolled in the HERS had at enrolment and at six-month intervals, a face-to-face interview which included specific injection drug use, a physical exam, and specimen collection that included T-cell subset analysis and HIV plasma RNA detection. Six hundred and thirty-nine HIV-infected women contributed 3021 person years of observation during 7.25 years of follow-up, and 299 of these women progressed to AIDS (46.8%). In multivariable analysis, there was no significantly increased risk of progression to AIDS for women reporting pre-baseline injection drug use [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.07 (0.78, 1.47)] or reported injection drug use during follow-up [HR = 0.89 (0.66, 1.21)] compared with never injecting. In a separate multivariable-model, comparing women who reported no injection in past six months to active injection drug users, the frequency of injection during the previous six months measured by daily injection [HR = 0.97 (0.61, 1.55)] or less than daily injection [HR = 0.84 (0.54, 1.33)] was not associated with progression to AIDS. Being in drug treatment was independently associated with a slower progression to AIDS [HR = 0.41 (0.28, 0.59)]. Neither injection drug use, nor frequency of injection drug use was associated with progression to AIDS among HIV infected women. Initiation of antiretroviral therapy among drug users should be based on readiness for treatment rather than concern about faster progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-327
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Drug use
  • HIV progression
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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