Characteristics of the MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study: Opportunities for Research on Aging with HIV in the Longest US Observational Study of HIV

Gypsyamber D'Souza, Fiona Bhondoekhan, Lorie Benning, Joseph B. Margolick, Adebola A. Adedimeji, Adaora A. Adimora, Maria L. Alcaide, Mardge H. Cohen, Roger Detels, M. Reuel Friedman, Susan Holman, Deborah J. Konkle-Parker, Daniel Merenstein, Igho Ofotokun, Frank Palella, Sean Altekruse*, Todd T. Brown*, Phyllis C. Tien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In 2019, the National Institutes of Health combined the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) into the MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study (MWCCS). In this paper, participants who made a study visit during October 2018-September 2019 (targeted for MWCCS enrollment) are described by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) serostatus and compared with people living with HIV (PLWH) in the United States. Participants include 2,115 women and 1,901 men with a median age of 56 years (interquartile range, 48-63); 62% are PLWH. Study sites encompass the South (18%), the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast (45%), the West Coast (22%), and the Midwest (15%). Participant race/ethnicity approximates that of PLWH throughout the United States. Longitudinal data and specimens collected for 35 years (men) and 25 years (women) were combined. Differences in data collection and coding were reviewed, and key risk factor and comorbidity data were harmonized. For example, recent use of alcohol (62%) and tobacco (28%) are common, as are dyslipidemia (64%), hypertension (56%), obesity (42%), mildly or severely impaired daily activities (31%), depressive symptoms (28%), and diabetes (22%). The MWCCS repository includes serum, plasma, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, cell pellets, urine, cervicovaginal lavage samples, oral samples, B-cell lines, stool, and semen specimens. Demographic differences between the MACS and WIHS can confound analyses by sex. The merged MWCCS is both an ongoing observational cohort study and a valuable resource for harmonized longitudinal data and specimens for HIV-related research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1475
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • HIV
  • MACS/WIHS Combined Cohort Study
  • Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study
  • Women's Interagency HIV Study
  • biorepositories
  • cohort studies
  • collaborative research
  • comorbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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