Weight loss associated with HIV seroconversion among injection-drug users

Michael Marmor, Stephen Titus, Cynthia Harrison, Evyan Argonza Cord-Cruz, Roy E. Shore, Mary Vogler, Keith Krasinski, Donna Mildvan, Don C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To describe symptoms associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seroconversion, we studied a cohort of 366 injection-drug users (IDUs) with a study design that included recall every 3 months to collect symptom histories using a structured questionnaire. Eleven HIV seroconversions were observed in 621.5 person years at risk (PYAR), equivalent to 1.8 seroconversions/100 PYAR. Cox regression analysis showed age ≤35 years to be a significant risk factor for HIV seroconversion after controlling for gender, race, and the frequency of drug injection. An embedded case-control analysis then compared symptom histories of HIV seroconverters with those of age-(±5 years) and visit number-matched controls who remained HIV seronegative for ≤3 months longer than the HIV-seroconverters. Multivariate case-control analysis adjusted for injection frequency yielded significant associations of HIV seroconversion with histories of weight loss ≤4.5 kg (seven of 11 cases; odds ratio [OR] 11.6, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1, 43.1) and oral ulcers (three of 11 cases; OR = 7.6, 95% CI = 1.2, 48.2) in the 3 months before the subjects' first HIV-seropositive study visit. We conclude that histories of recent symptoms reported by HIV-seroconverting IDUs differ from those reported by non-HIV-seroconverting IDUs, and weight loss may be particularly common among IDUs experiencing primary HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • Acute retroviral syndrome
  • Epidemiology
  • Human immunodeficiency syndrome
  • Injection drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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