BETHESDA, MarylandTwo major AIDS studies will increase their enrollments by 60% and the number of minorities participating in them.
The Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) plans to increase its enrollment to 2,795 from the current 1,717 women. The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) seeks to raise its number of participants to 2,878 from 1,768. WIHS and MACS are the largest US observational studies of AIDS. They focus on HIV infection and AIDS in women and homosexual and bisexual men, respectively.
MACS was initiated in 1984 and WIHS in 1993. Since the early years of the AIDS epidemic, two major changes have occurred, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said in a press release. HIV infection has increased significantly among minorities and women, and highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) has greatly improved treatment.
"Because of HAART, HIV-infected people are living longer without developing AIDS," said NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci, MD. "This means that we have new issues to address, such as the safety and benefits of long-term treatment, HIV’s effects in older populations, and the nature of both the virus and the immune system during chronic infections. MACS and WIHS are ideal frameworks within which such questions can be answered."
Today, 50% of men newly infected with HIV are black and 20% are Hispanic. Among newly infected women, 64% are black and 18% are Hispanic. The enlarged enrollments will ensure that the two studies have large enough participation to address new questions in a representative sampling of the population with HIV, the NIAID said.
The two studies are currently enrolling men and women who are HIV negative or HIV positive and who have never received HIV therapy. They are also accruing people who are HIV positive and who have medical records available from the beginning of their treatment.
MACS study sites are located in Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. WIHS has sites in Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.