Dr. Robert Munk Award – Katherine Kooij

New results from the AGEhIV Cohort Study, investigating comorbidity and aging in HIV, were presented during an oral abstract session, jointly organized by the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) conference and the International Workshop on Co-morbidities and Adverse Drug Reactions in HIV in Barcelona, Spain (21-24 October 2015).


Katherine Kooij presented an abstract on the prediction of adverse events by the frailty phenotype, for which she was awarded the Dr. Robert Munk Award. Dr. Kooij was the first recipient of this award which was instituted in recognition of the many contributions of Dr. Robert Munk who passed away last July.


Robert Munk, Ph.D., was involved in AIDS activism since 1987, the year he tested positive. He was the first development director for The NAMES Project in San Francisco before founding the AIDS Service Providers Association of the Bay Area. He moved to New Mexico in 1992. In 1997, he founded AIDS InfoNet, an Internet-based patient education resource providing HIV treatment information in English, Spanish and several other languages. His main focus was on providing current HIV/AIDS treatment information in non-technical language. Dr. Munk also served for many years on the scientific committee of the International Workshop on Co-morbidities and Adverse Drug Reactions in HIV.


At enrollment into the AGEhIV Cohort Study, HIV-infected and uninfected participants were classified as non-frail, pre-frail or frail based on hand grip strength and walking test performance, self-reported weight loss, exhaustion and limited physical activity. Frailty predicted falls, hospitalization, and all-cause mortality after a 2 year interval, independently of age, gender, comorbidities and HIV infection. These findings support the utility of the frailty phenotype to assess the vulnerability for adverse health outcomes, even in a middle-aged population.

Rosan van Zoest presented an abstract on the prevalence of hypertension within the AGEhIV Cohort Study. The prevalence of hypertension was higher among HIV-infected individuals than among HIV-uninfected controls, even after adjustment for common predictors of hypertension. However, after additional adjustment for waist-to-hip ratio the association between HIV-serostatus and hypertension was attenuated. Among HIV-infected individuals we found an association between prior stavudine exposure and hypertension, which was attenuated after additional adjustment for waist-to-hip ratio. These findings suggest that changes in body composition, involving both abdominal obesity and stavudine-induced peripheral lipoatrophy, contribute to the higher prevalence of hypertension in HIV-infected patients.


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