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  1. Socio-Economic Status as a Predictor of Sexual Behaviors Among Latino Immigrant MSM and Their Sexual Partners [Download]

    Title: Socio-Economic Status as a Predictor of Sexual Behaviors Among Latino Immigrant MSM and Their Sexual Partners
    Author: Parchem, Ben
    Description: Background: Sexual risk for HIV is stratified by sexual role and activities, particularly presenting a higher risk for receptive partners due to biological vulnerabilities. Sexual role-based identity among Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) often coincides with assumptions regarding power dynamics between sexual partners. Latino MSM often associate pasivo (receptive) roles with less power in the dyad whereas activo (insertive) roles are associated with more power. A more granular understanding of the role socio-economic status (SES) plays in power dynamics, and thus HIV risk, is warranted given the identity-based oppression faced by Latino MSM. Our study aimed to explore the implications of SES for sexual activities among Latino immigrant MSM. Methods: Our sample included 350 Brazilian, Colombian, and Dominican immigrant MSM residing in New York City. We estimated SES differential using participants’ responses on questions gauging their sex partner’s education and income compared to their own. We categorized SES as favoring the participant, the partner, or equal between partners. Participants also reported their participation in a series of sexual activities during the most recent sexual encounter with a single partner. Results: Regarding SES differentials, 24% of participants had a higher SES than their partner, 40.9% had a lower SES, and 35.1% reported equal SES. A series of logistic regressions revealed that, as compared to participants with higher or equal SES, participants with lower SES than their sexual partner were more likely to receive oral sex and manual stimulation of their penis and anus by their sexual partner. They were also less likely to penetrate or ejaculate in their partner’s anus. They were not more or less likely to receive anal penetration or ejaculation in their anus from their sexual partner. Conclusions: Although participants with lower SES were more likely to receive oral and manual stimulation, it did not confer an increased risk of HIV through receptive anal intercourse. The conceptualization of dyadic power between activo and pasivo partners was not aligned with SES. To minimize the influence of SES on HIV risk, user-controlled forms of protection such as PrEP may be more of an acceptable option for Latino immigrant MSM.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, Psychology, HIV, Sexual behavior, Latino studies
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  2. HIV Infected Cells Have Depolarized Membrane Potentials and Increased Intracellular Calcium Levels [Download]

    Title: HIV Infected Cells Have Depolarized Membrane Potentials and Increased Intracellular Calcium Levels
    Author: Goydos, Ryan
    Description: Introduction/Background: Ion distribution between the extracellular, cytoplasmic, and organellar spaces creates membrane potentials which drive many of life’s processes. This bioelectric membrane potential, driven by ion channel and pump activity, can be harnessed to allow or prevent entry of signaling mediators like Ca2+ into the cytoplasm. Several HIV proteins (Vpu, Env, Vpr, and Nef) have been reported to function as ion channels or alter ion channel activity. This activity likely influences cell fate including activation and apoptosis. Hypothesis: HIV depolarizes the plasma membrane and alters intracellular calcium levels. Changing the polarization of the plasma membrane would alter the levels of HIV infection. Methods: HIV infected cells were identified using a broadly neutralizing anti-Env antibody (PG9) conjugated to AlexaFluor-647. Membrane potential measurements were done by flow cytometry using the DiBAC4(3) dye as previously reported. Intracellular Ca2+ measurements were also done by flow cytometry using the Fluo-4 dye. Ionomycin and PMA were used to show the contrast in intracellular Ca2+ levels between infected and uninfected cells. To assess the effects of membrane potential changes on HIV replication, 200μM diazoxide was added to cells during infections. Results: HIV infected cells consistently had depolarized membrane potentials in both primary cells and cell lines. When cells were cultured with a depolarizing agent, diazoxide, there was an increase in HIV-infected cells. This membrane depolarization was accompanied by an increased resting level of intracellular Ca2+ in infected cells. Following addition of ionomycin, there was a drastic difference in Ca2+ flow between uninfected and HIV-infected cells. In uninfected cells, the addition of ionomycin induced an influx of Ca2+ while PMA had little effect. In contrast, both ionomycin and PMA induced a large efflux of Ca2+ from HIV infected cells.
    Keywords: Research Days 2018, HIV, Microbiology, Immunology, Tropical medicine
    Date Uploaded: 04/21/2018
  3. Differential Gene Expression in Primary Human CD4+ T Cells Induced by HIV Nef [Download]

    Title: Differential Gene Expression in Primary Human CD4+ T Cells Induced by HIV Nef
    Author: Goydos, Ryan
    Description: The Nef protein is responsible for T-cell activation and formation of a persistent state of infection in HIV disease. Findings from the Sydney Blood Bank Cohort and other case studies indicate that individuals infected with a variant of HIV containing a defective nef gene displayed a slower development to AIDS compared to individuals infected with wild-type HIV. Our study investigates the role of the Nef protein on cellular gene transcription in infected primary CD4+ T cells with the goal of understanding how HIV Nef promotes viral replication and subsequent cellular pathology.
    Keywords: Research Days 2017, HIV, RNASeq, Transcriptome, AIDS
    Date Uploaded: 04/17/2017