October 25, 2008
There's nothing like hearing the results of studies directly from those who actually conducted the research. In this interview, you'll meet one of these impressive HIV researchers and read her explanation of the study she presented at ICAAC/IDSA 2008.
My name is Christine Oramasionwu. I'm a second-year master's student and a pharmacotherapy resident from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tell me a little bit about your study.
The study is a national survey of hospitalized patients with HIV.1 We wanted to assess the differences in comorbidities for blacks and whites. We have data from 1996 to 2005.
What we concluded is that African Americans had higher rates of opportunistic infection and substance abuse compared to whites. However, blacks had lower rates of hepatitis C coinfection compared to whites.
We looked at the independent predictors of our outcomes, which were hospital mortality and length of stay. We concluded that opportunistic infection, substance abuse and older age were all associated with increased length of stay and increased mortality within our data set.
What was the most surprising thing?
The most surprising thing, which people have been asking me about all day today, is: Why is there a lower rate of hepatitis C infection [among African Americans] within our population? We can't answer that, but we're currently investigating. There have been conflicting reports in the literature as to whether there are higher rates of coinfection. Our study supports one side of that conflict, but we're not exactly sure as to why that is.
Will you continue to study this?
Oh, yes, absolutely. This is actually a part of my thesis project for May of 2009. We're now evaluating the trends in mortality and length of stay to evaluate whether the racial gaps are closing over time, or if they're getting worse over time.
Could you tell me some of the characteristics of the demographics?
Most of our patients were Caucasian or African American; and most had substance abuse and opportunistic infections.
They had opportunistic infections because they were diagnosed late?
We don't have information about when they were diagnosed, but again, most of them had opportunistic infections, probably because they had advanced disease when they were hospitalized.
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.