Visit Overview

Reminders: medications & fasting

Bring your medications

Please remember to bring your medications in their original bottles, your medi-set, or a list of the medications you have taken since your last visit. If you are taking HIV meds, we'll also need the dosage information. Thank you for bringing your medication information to your interview! It is very helpful for providing us with a complete medical history.

Fast (only drink water) before your visit

Please fast (don't eat or drink anything, except water, for at least 8 hours) before your WIHS core visit. Although many beverages, such as black coffee, plain tea, and diet sodas don't contain any calories, they do contain other ingredients that can affect some of the measurements. Even sugar free gum has a couple of calories. So, please drink only water for at least 8 hours before your core visit. This is important for getting an accurate test result for your cholesterol, lipids, and glucose. These blood tests are important markers for diseases that affect women, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. If you have concerns about fasting or if you have certain medications that need to be taken with food and at certain times, or if you are diabetic, please discuss this with your medical provider.

Ancillary studies

NaSH - Study of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

This study aims to learn more about whether HIV infection increases risk of liver injury for individuals with fatty liver disease, and to see who may be at highest risk for liver damage. We will offer liver biopsies to eligible women who may have fatty liver based on blood and imaging tests. Women will be asked to have a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) scan to measure the amount of fat in the liver. If you are eligible for participation, the study interviewer Monique Biega will contact you directly to schedule a visit. Reimbursement is $100 for the liver biopsy and $50 for the MRI.

Echocardiography- Study to evaluate heart structure and function

This study uses ultrasound to measure the function of the heart to measure scarring and fat build-up in the heart muscle. This research will allow us to study how HIV infection and its treatment affect the heart muscle. Monique Biega and Julia Dunn will contact eligible women for this study. Reimbursement is $50 for this study.

What’s continuing?

The Ankle Brachial Index (ABI)

The ABI is a brief measurement of the blood pressure in the arms and legs that provides the WIHS with a measure of large blood vessel disease. Disease in the large vessels of the limbs including arms and legs has been associated with cardiovascular disease, decreased muscle strength and difficulty walking. The ABI will be done every two years and involves a brief interview about physical activity and pain or discomfort you may experience in your legs. This is one of the first large studies of factors related to vessel disease in HIV-infected women and HIV-uninfected women. We hope to use the findings of the study to help with prevention and treatment recommendations for patients and providers.

The Fibroscan

These studies are being done to understand how body fat and metabolism are impacted by HIV, Hepatitis C, or obesity and how this affects the health of your liver. A Fibroscan is an ultrasound scan of your liver to check for stiffness (also called "Fibrosis"). The Fibroscan will be done at our Scott Street office. Reimbursement for the Fibroscan is $5 if you are seen at the Scott Street Clinic. Reimbursement is $20 if you are coming from the east bay to have a Fibroscan.

The neurocognitive study

The neurocognitive tasks are administered verbally, using paper and pencil, and a pegboard. You will be asked to read words, recognize shapes, solve problems, memorize things and engage in other mental tasks. Some of the tasks will be familiar from previous WIHS visits and some will be new. The purpose of this component is to look at cognition – that is, mental processes such as memory and learning. It takes about an hour, and you will be reimbursed an additional $20 at the visit.

The Pulmonary Studies – TEAL and LEAP

This study involves an interview, lung function test, chest CT scan (for LEAP), and blood draw. All procedures take place at the UCSF Parnassus campus. The study visit takes about 2 hours and you will be reimbursed $60. Stacy coordinates these studies and will contact you if you are eligible.

Hair samples

If you are HIV-positive, we will ask for your permission to cut a small amount of your hair (about 20-100 strands) depending on the type of HIV medication you are taking. These hair samples are being tested for levels of HIV medications. Did you know that we all lose over 100 hairs every day? Having this information is very important to understanding women's response to treatment as new medications become available.

Abbreviated visits will continue for women who are unable to come into the clinic. If you do have an abbreviated visit, we will ask you questions about your health and medications you are taking.