Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Marianna K. Baum

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Adriana Campa

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Fatma G. Huffman

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Florence George

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


gut integrity, microbial translocation, immune activation, inflammation, vitamin D, cocaine, HIV

Date of Defense



The purpose of this study was to examine associations between MT, immune activation, inflammation, gut integrity and vitamin D status in the context of cocaine use among People Living with HIV (PLWH). One hundred cocaine and non-cocaine users living with HIV were selected from the Miami Adult Studies in HIV cohort. Blood samples were collected to assess MT (LPS), immune activation (sCD163 and sCD27), inflammation (IL-6, TNF-a, hs-CRP, IL-17 and IL-22), gut integrity damage (I-FABP) and vitamin D status. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, anthropometrics, diet and disease progression were collected. Descriptive statistics, independent t-test, multiple linear and logistic regressions were conducted to analyze the data.

The non-cocaine group had a greater proportion of participants (66%, n=66), than cocaine group (34%, n=34). For the two groups, mean age was 53.37±6.88 years old, most participants were male (51%), and African Americans (66%). All participants were on ART and had controlled viral load (/mL). Half of the participants were considered vitamin D deficient. Cocaine users had higher levels of MT and I-FABP than non-users (P

Our data suggested that cocaine use was associated with MT, immune activation, inflammation and the damage to the gut integrity in PLWH despite ART use and viral suppression. Therefore, there is a need to develop effective interventions that target gut health and counseling on drug abuse, to improve MT and immune activation among PLWH.






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