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Sex, race, and geography influence health outcomes following primary HIV infection
Date:1/18/2011

e to antiretroviral therapy were nonexistent. The researchers observed that nonwhite women and men and individuals from the South were not as likely as white men and individuals from other regions of the U.S. to initiate antiretroviral therapy. Nevertheless, use of antiretroviral therapy only explained part of the differences in outcomes. The authors hypothesized that the disparities could be attributed to the influence of socioeconomic factors, including "access to health care, health behaviors, lifestyle, and environmental exposures." Delayed therapy may be one factor affecting increased morbidity in HIV-infected individuals living in the South; however, socioeconomic factors probably also play a role.

In an accompanying editorial, Carlos del Rio, MD, and Wendy S. Armstrong, MD, of Emory University's Center for AIDS Research in Atlanta, commented on the challenges presented in the study. The likelihood of HIV-infected individuals seeking care depends on factors not related purely to biology, and it is critical to consider socioeconomic factors when developing care strategies for these individuals. They noted that "socioeconomic factors play a much more important role in determining HIV disease outcomes, both at an individual as well as at a population level, and although theoretically modifiable, they represent complex challenges that are beyond the traditional influence of public health."

Dr. Meditz concluded that "understanding the causes of poor health outcomes among HIV-infected women, nonwhites and people from the South is a critical first step. In addition, development of strategies or interventions to improve health outcomes in these populations is essential."


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Contact: John Heys
jheys@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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