Stressful events, pessimism, natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and cytotoxic/suppressor T cells in HIV+ black women at risk for cervical cancer

Deidre M. Byrnes, Michael H. Antoni, Karl Goodkin, Jonell Efantis-Potter, Deshratn Asthana, Trudi Simon, Josefina Munajj, Gail Ironson, Mary Ann Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examines whether stressful negative life events and pessimism were associated with lower natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC) and T cytotoxic/suppressor cell (CD8+CD3+) percentage in black women co-infected with human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1) and human papillomavirus (HPV), a viral initiator of cervical cancer. Method: Psychosocial interviews, immunological evaluations, and cervical swabs for HPV detection and subtyping were conducted on 36 HIV+ African-American, Haitian, and Caribbean women. Results: Greater pessimism was related to lower NKCC and cytotoxic/suppressor cells after controlling for presence/absence of HPV Types 16 or 18, behavioral/lifestyle factors, and subjective impact of negative life events. Conclusions: A pessimistic attitude may be associated with immune decrements, and possibly poorer control over HPV infection and increased risk for future promotion of cervical dysplasia to invasive cervical cancer in HIV+ minority women co-infected with HPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-722
Number of pages9
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998



  • African-American
  • HIV-1
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Natural killer cell cytotoxicity
  • Pessimism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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