Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Seroprevalence of HTLV-I and HTLV-II among a cohort of HIV-infected women and women at risk for HIV infection. Women's Interagency HIV Study.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the seroprevalence of, and risk factors for, HTLV-I and HTLV-II infection among HIV-infected women and women at high risk for HIV infection.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data for women enrolled in the prospective Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

METHODS: From October 1994 through November 1995, 2657 women from five metropolitan areas in the United States (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City [two sites], Northern California, and Washington DC) were enrolled in WIHS. An interview-based survey collected data on demographics, behavior, and medical history. HTLV-I and HTLV-II determinations were made using a combined HTLV-I/HTLV-II indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) screening test, an IFA titration specificity test, and individual HTLV-I and HTLV-II confirmatory Western blots. Fisher's exact tests and logistic regression were used to determine univariate and multivariate independent predictors for HTLV-II infection.

RESULTS: Of 2625 women enrolled in WIHS with confirmed HIV results, 2487 (95%) were tested for HTLV-I and HTLV-II. Of these, 241 (10%) were HTLV-II-seropositive and 13 (0.5%) were HTLV-I-seropositive. On multivariate analysis, independent predictors of HTLV-II infection included injection drug use (OR = 5.2; p < .001), black race (OR = 3.6; p < 0.001), age >35 years (OR = 3.3; p < .001) and a history of sex with a male injecting drug user (OR = 1.9; p < .001). Among women infected with HIV, the seroprevalence of HTLV-II was 11% compared with 6% for women at risk for HIV but not infected (p < .001). However, HIV was not an independent predictor of HTLV-II infection in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: This cross-sectional analysis confirms that HTLV-II is found commonly in HIV-infected women and uninfected women at risk for HIV in major urban areas throughout the United States and that HTLV-II is far more common than HTLV-I in these populations. Although injecting drug use is most strongly associated with HTLV-II infection, sexual transmission likely contributes to the high HTLV-II seroprevalence in this cohort.

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