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Using hair to manage HIV/AIDS and predict treatment success
Date:3/3/2009

HIV clinical care of measuring hemoglobin A1C, the method used in diabetes to monitor average blood glucose levels," said study co-investigator, Ruth M. Greenblatt, MD, UCSF professor of clinical pharmacy and principal investigator of the Women's Interagency HIV study.

Researchers took 10 strands of hair from patients on HIV therapy from the back of the head. They cut the hair sample close to the scalp underneath the top layer of hair, marked the part farthest from the scalp with tape and wrapped the strands in aluminum foil. The sample was then stored at room temperature in a plastic bag until it was analyzed.

"This is a painless, bloodless, biohazard-free, method of collecting a stable specimen from HIV patients that may allow for the monitoring of levels of antiretroviral drugs absorbed over time and the prediction of treatment success," said Gandhi. "Our next step is to test this method in resource-limited settings where blood collection and viral load monitoring may be expensive and difficult. Not only could this method help in measuring pill-taking, but its strong correlation with viral suppression could allow its use as an inexpensive, non-invasive method of monitoring treatment success in particularly challenging settings."

Researchers from this group are also collaborating with public health researchers in testing hair to monitor pill-taking in clinical trials of single or dual antiretrovirals in high risk, HIV negative individuals to prevent infection with HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, trials).

The 224 patients in this study were drawn from the Women's Interagency HIV study, an ongoing multi-center, prospective study of HIV-infected and at risk uninfected women established in 1994.

"Women taking antiretroviral medications may have more adverse events than men taking these regimens. The safety trials of these medications were conducted in trials consisting largely of men, and the highest tole
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Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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