HIV-Inducing Factor in Cervicovaginal Secretions Is Associated With Bacterial Vaginosis in HIV-1-Infected Women


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Abstract

Objective:Certain cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) fluid samples obtained from HIV-1-infected and uninfected women stimulate in vitro HIV-1 replication. This activity, HIV-inducing factor (HIF), changes when CVL fluid is heated. We sought to confirm a previous observation that HIF was associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV).Methods:HIF was measured in unheated and heated CVL fluid obtained from HIV-1-infected women and compared with the presence of BV by Nugent scores, other genital tract conditions, and cervicovaginal HIV-1 shedding.Results:Among the 295 women studied, 54% of CVL samples had HIF activity and 21% showed heat-stable HIF activity. In adjusted logistic regression, heat-stable HIF was associated with BV (odds ratio [OR] = 51.7, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.0, 530.7) and with intermediate flora (OR = 43.3, 95% CI: 3.6, 521.1); heat-labile HIF was not associated with BV. Neither heat-stable nor heat-labile HIF was associated with other cervicovaginal conditions nor, after controlling for plasma viral load, with genital tract HIV-1 shedding.Conclusion:We confirmed the association of HIF with BV and attribute it to the heat-stable component. Heat-stable activity is also associated, although less strongly, with intermediate vaginal flora. We propose that heat-stable HIF is a result of products of BV-associated bacteria.

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