Chronic inflammation is associated with AIDS-defining and non-AIDS–defining conditions. Limited research has considered how food insecurity influences chronic inflammation among people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We examined whether food insecurity was associated with higher levels of inflammation among women living with HIV (WWH) in the United States.
Working with other researchers, Dr. Janet Turan, professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, analyzed cross-sectional data collected in 2015 from 421 participants on antiretroviral therapy from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study. The exposure was any food insecurity. The outcome was inflammation, measured by proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necroses factor receptor 1 (TNFR1) levels. We conducted multivariable linear regressions, adjusting for sociodemographic, clinical, and nutritional factors.
Nearly one-third of participants (31 percent) were food insecure and 79 percent were virally suppressed (<20 copies/mL). In adjusted analyses, food insecurity was associated with 1.23 times the level of IL-6 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.06–1.44) and 1.13 times the level of TNFR1 (95 percent CI, 1.05–1.21). Findings did not differ by HIV control (virally suppressed with CD4 counts ≥500 cells/mm3 or not) in adjusted stratified analyses.
The authors concluded that food insecurity was associated with elevated inflammation among WWH regardless of HIV control. Findings support the need for programs that address food insecurity among WWH.