Women Might Have Better HAART Outcomes Than Men

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Mar 13 – HIV-positive women starting highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) benefit from the therapy as much as men do, and they may even have a slower rate of disease progression, UK study results show.
Antonia L. Moore, a clinical research fellow at Royal Free and University College School of Medicine in London, and colleagues followed 497 men and 146 women for a median of 13 months after they started HAART for the first time. Of the men, 81% were white and 75% were homosexual. Of the women, 58% were African American and 9% were of another nonwhite ethnicity. Eighty-six percent of the women and 15% of the men were believed to have been infected through heterosexual activity.

The rate of hospital admission did not differ between women and men, Moore's group reports in the February 1st issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Univariate analysis showed that the rate of disease progression, defined as death or a new AIDS diagnosis, was slightly slower in women than in men. The hazard ratio was 0.77 but the difference was not statistically significant.

The gender difference widened somewhat when the researchers accounted for the two factors independently associated with disease progression, a history of AIDS and a higher baseline CD4 count. However, the results were still nonsignificant.

"Even though females had lower CD4 counts than males at baseline, with equivalent viral loads, they benefited from HAART as much as males," Moore commented in an interview with Reuters Health.

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