Objective: The Met allele of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) Val158Met polymorphism is associated with increased cortical dopamine and risk behaviors including illicit drug use and unprotected sex. Therefore, we examined whether or not the distribution of the Val158Met genotype differed between HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis using data from the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the largest longitudinal cohort study of HIV in women.
Methods: We conducted an Armitage–Cochran test and logistic regression to compare genotype frequencies between 1848 HIV-infected and 612 HIV-uninfected women in WIHS.
Results: The likelihood of carrying one or two Met alleles was greater in HIV-infected women (61%) compared to HIV-uninfected women (54%), Z = −3.60, P <0.001.
Conclusion: We report the novel finding of an association between the Val158Met genotype and HIV serostatus that may be mediated through the impact of dopamine function on propensity for risk-taking.