Sex Differences, Cocaine Use, and Liver Fibrosis among African Americans in the Miami Adult Studies on HIV Cohort

Gustavo Zarini, Sabrina Sales Martinez, Adriana Campa, Kenneth Sherman, Javier Tamargo, Jacqueline Hernandez Boyer, Colby Teeman, Angelique Johnson, Abraham Degarege, Pedro Greer, Qingyun Liu, Yongjun Huang, Raul Mandler, David Choi, Marianna K. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: HIV infection disproportionally affects African Americans. Liver disease is a major cause of non-HIV morbidity and mortality in this population. Substance abuse accelerates HIV disease and may facilitate progression of liver disease. This study investigated the relationship between sex differences and cocaine use with liver injury, characterized as hepatic fibrosis. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on 544 African Americans [369 people living with HIV (PLWH) and 175 HIV seronegative] from the Miami Adult Studies on HIV (MASH) cohort. Cocaine use was determined with a validated self-reported questionnaire and confirmed with urine screen. Fasting blood was used to estimate liver fibrosis using the noninvasive fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) index. Results: Men living with HIV had 1.79 times higher odds for liver fibrosis than women living with HIV (p = 0.038). African American women had higher CD4 count (p = 0.001) and lower HIV viral load (p = 0.011) compared to African American men. Fewer women (PLWH and HIV seronegative) smoked cigarettes (p = 0.002), and fewer had hazardous or harmful alcohol use (p < 0.001) than men. Women also had higher body mass index (kg/m2) (p < 0.001) compared to men. No significant association was noted among HIV seronegative participants for liver fibrosis by sex differences or cocaine use. Among African Americans living with HIV, cocaine users were 1.68 times more likely to have liver fibrosis than cocaine nonusers (p = 0.044). Conclusions: Sex differences and cocaine use appear to affect liver disease among African Americans living with HIV pointing to the importance of identifying at-risk individuals to improve outcomes of liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1183
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • African American
  • HIV
  • cocaine
  • liver fibrosis
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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