“It is known that after acute HIV infection women present with higher CD4 counts and lower viral loads than men. We were interested in looking at whether this difference influenced clinical outcomes. It is debatable whether these sex differences confer clinical benefits and we hypothesized that they would”, says Elizabeth Connick. She works at the Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Aurora, and is one of the authors of the study “Sex, Race and Geographic Region influence Clinical Outcomes Following Primary HIV-1 Infection”, recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. She was involved since the beginning in the Acute Infection and Early Disease Research Program (AIEDRP) and was principal investigator at one of the sites of the program funded by the National Institute of Health. It was a multicenter, observational cohort of more than 2000 primarily North American individuals (26 sites in the US, 10 in Australia, 2 in Canada and one in Brazil) diagnosed with acute and recent HIV infection whose data were prospectively collected in a database.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to analyze the data base to answer that question. When you look in a population of HIV positive people you don’t know how long somebody has been infected. It is hard to know what stage they are in their disease and to judge whether men and women are progressing at different rates”.