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August 1992

Clinical and Laboratory Correlates of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in a Cohort of Intravenous Drug Users From New York, NY

Author Affiliations

From the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies, New York, NY (Drs El-Sadr, Goetz, Sorrell, Ehrhardt, and Gorman and Ms Joseph); Departments of Medicine (Drs El-sadr and Sorrell) and Psychiatry (Drs Goetz and Gorman), College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY; Harlem Hospital Center, New York, NY (Dr El-Sadr and Ms Joseph); and St Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY (Dr Sorrell).

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(8):1653-1659. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400200085015

Background.—  The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic has increasingly involved intravenous drug users. Few studies have attempted to define its clinical and laboratory characteristics in this population.

Methods.—  We recruited 223 intravenous drug users from New York, NY, for a prospective study of the natural course of HIV infection. Medical history, physical examination, medical staging, and immunologic assessments were performed at 6-month intervals. We examined the baseline findings among this cohort.

Results.—  Of the total cohort, 65.9% were men and 34.1% were women, with 70.9% African American, 12.6% white, 11.7% white Latino, and 4.9% black Latino. At baseline, 44.4% were HIV negative and 55.6% were HIV positive. No significant association was noted between ethnicity, gender, and serologic status. Also no significant difference was noted for homelessness either across serologic status or gender. There was a trend toward an association between gender and use of drugs during the week before interview; the women showed higher drug use. A significant association was noted between HIV serologicstatus and reported history of pneumonia, oral candidiasis, cough, night sweats, fever, and lymphadenopathy on physical examination. In a regression model, white blood cell count, hematocrit, symptom/sign complex score, and CD4 cell number were significantly associated with HIV status.

Conclusion.—  This study provided important historical, clinical, and immunologic characteristics that are useful in the identification and evaluation of the HIV-infected intravenous drug user.(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1653-1659)