Comparison of clinical manifestations of HIV infection between male and female injecting drug users

David Vlahov, Alvaro Muñoz, Liza Solomon, Jacqueline Astemborski, Ariette Lindsay, Jean Anderson, Noya Galai, Kenrad E. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare occurrence of clinical symptoms, physical examination findings and hematologic variables in male and female HIV-seropositive injecting drug users (IDU) with similar CD4+ lymphocyte counts. Method: We interviewed and examined 118 female and 444 male AIDS-free HIV-seropositive IDU for clinical signs and symptoms. HIV serology and T-lymphocyte subset evaluations were performed. Comparisons were analyzed by Mantel-Haenszel procedures. Results: In this population, median age for men was 35 years versus 33 years for women; median CD4 cell count was 490x106/l for men versus 480x106/l for women. The overall frequency of oral candidiasis increased as CD4 cell count decreased, but did not vary by sex. Recent history of genital herpes was more frequent (P<0.05) in women than men, but this difference was not significant on physical examination. Symptoms of diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, shortness of breath, presence of enlarged posterior cervical lymph nodes did not vary by CD4 cell count or sex, and no strong interactions were evident. Although absolute values of hematocrit were higher (P<0.001) and platelet count lower (P<0.001) in HIV-seropositive men than women, distributions of hematocrit and platelet count by sex were similar for HIV-seropositive participants and HIV-seronegative controls. Conclusion: Our data on IDU prior to a diagnosis of AIDS suggest that constitutional signs and symptoms are generally similar among men and women early in HIV infection. Additional follow-up is needed to determine whether differential rates of signs and symptoms by sex appear with progression of HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-823
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Clinical
  • HIV
  • Sex
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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