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  1. R. Hechavarría,
  2. D. Blass,
  3. T. Ginebra,
  4. E. Maldonado,
  5. R. Mayo,
  6. L. Melendez,
  7. B. Santiago,
  8. V. Wojna
  1. University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico


Hispanic women represent one of the fastest growing groups with HIV infection in the United S. In Puerto Rico 27.4% of the reported cases of HIV/AIDS are women (1996-2004). Research focusing specially on women living with HIV is now gaining scientific attention since it has been clearly established that there are important biological, psychological, emotional, and social differences between men and women. Mood disorders, life events, stress, quality of life, and other psychosocial factors have been related to the immune function; the most common is depression. Depression is a psychological condition common in individuals with medical illnesses; estimated prevalence rates vary from 20 to 50%. An association between clinical depression and altered immune state has been suggested but has not been consistently demonstrated. The purpose of this pilot study is to correlate depressive symptoms with patients' immune state in a cohort of Hispanic HIV-positive women. A total of 47 HIV-positive women from the longitudinal cohort of NeuroAIDS program at the Medical Science Campus of the University of Puerto Rico signed informed consent. Inclusion criteria included HIV-positive women aged 18-50 years with a nadir CD4 cell count < 500 cell/mm3 during the last year. Evaluation included participant's history, neurological and neuropsychological evaluations, and the psychosocial domain of the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (MENQOL). Analysis was performed using Spearman's correlation. The mean values included age 37 (7.3), nadir CD4 cell count 218 cells/mm3 (130). The mean of the MENQOL psychosocial domain was 32.21 (6.9). No significant correlation was obtained between the MENQOL psychosocial domain and nadir CD4 cell count. Nevertheless, we did found a significant correlation between questions 4, 7, and 9 and nadir CD4. An inverse association between question 4 (dissatisfaction with my personal life) and nadir CD4 (rho -.320. p = .028) was obtained. Noteworthy, for questions 7 (accomplishing less than I used to) and 9 (impatient with other people) there is a positive correlation (rho = .295, p = .044 and rho = .312, p = .033, respectively). In our cohort women with HIV showed more dissatisfaction with their personal life with increased immunosuppression. However, the feeling of impatience with other people could reflect other symptoms not related to depression, like anxiety. These findings demonstrate the necessity to study emotional health in women with HIV in Puerto Rico, especially the depressive symptom and how this affects infection status

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