Effect of hard-drug use on CD4 cell percentage, HIV RNA level, and progression to AIDS-defining class C events among HIV-infected women

Lorna E. Thorpe, Margaret Frederick, Jane Pitt, Irene Cheng, D. Heather Watts, Shelley Buschur, Karen Green, Carmen Zorrilla, Sheldon H. Landesman, Ronald C. Hershow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In vitro and animal studies suggest that cocaine and heroin increase HIV replication and suppress immune function, whereas epidemiologic studies are inconclusive regarding their effect on HIV infection progression. The authors prospectively examined the association between illicit-drug use and 4 outcome measures (CD4 cell percentage, HIV RNA level, survival to class C diagnosis of HIV infection, and death) in a national cohort of HIV-infected women. Women enrolled between 1989 and 1995 were followed for 5 years and repeatedly interviewed about illicit ("hard")-drug use. Up to 3 periodic urine screens validated self-reported use. Outcomes were compared between hard-drug users (women using cocaine, heroin, methadone, or injecting drugs) and nonusers, adjusting for age, antiretroviral therapy, number of pregnancies, smoking, and baseline CD4 cell percentage. Of 1148 women, 40% reported base-line hard-drug use during pregnancy. In multivariate analyses, hard-drug use was not associated with change in CD4 cell percentage (P = 0.84), HIV RNA level (P = 0.48), or all-cause mortality (relative hazard = 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-1.98). Hard-drug users did, however, exhibit a higher risk of developing class C diagnoses (relative hazard = 1.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.00-2.72), especially herpes, pulmonary tuberculosis, and recurrent pneumonia. Hard-drug-using women may have a higher risk for nonfatal opportunistic infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1423-1430
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

Keywords

  • AIDS
  • CD4 lymphocyte count
  • Disease progression
  • Drug use
  • HIV
  • HIV RNA level

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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