Herpes Zoster in Women With and at Risk for HIV: Data From the Women's Interagency HIV Study

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Herpes zoster occurs at all CD4 cell counts in HIV-infected adults. It was hypothesized that even in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), zoster risk is higher in HIV-infected than uninfected women.


Generalized estimating equations modeled self-reported occurrence of zoster between semiannual visits among 1832 HIV-infected and 489 HIV-uninfected women in the Women's Interagency HIV Study followed for up to 7.5 years.


A total of 337 (18.4%) HIV-infected and 7 (1.4%) HIV-uninfected women reported zoster at some time during follow-up. Using HIV-infected women with CD4 >750 cells/μL as the reference category, the odds ratios for reporting zoster since the prior visit were: 1.43 (95% CI 0.86-2.37) for CD4 500-749 cells/μL, 2.07 (95% CI 1.27-3.38) for CD4 350-499 cells/μL, 2.72 (95% CI 1.66-4.46) for CD4 200-349 cells/μL, and 3.16 (95% CI 1.92-5.18) for CD4 <200 cells/μL, compared with 0.11 (95% CI 0.046-0.26) for HIV-uninfected women. In multivariate analyses using visits from all HIV-infected women and only those who initiated HAART, lower CD4 cell count was more strongly associated with zoster incidence than were other clinical indicators.


Herpes zoster is associated with degree of immunosuppression in HIV-infected women, but even women with high CD4 counts are at greater risk of zoster than HIV-uninfected women.

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