Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) testing is an in vivo assessment of cell-mediated immunity. Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) improves immunologic parameters, the relationship between DTH responsiveness and CD4 gains on HAART is not completely understood. We investigated CD4 reconstitution and the change in DTH responses from treatment baseline through 24 months of viral load (VL)-suppressive HAART in the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study.
Treatment-naïve subjects with VL <400 copies/mL after ≥24 months on HAART were included (n=302). DTH testing consisted of ≥3 recall antigens, and responses were classified by the number of positive skin tests: anergic (0–1) or non-anergic (≥2). Pre-HAART DTH results were compared for the outcome of CD4 reconstitution at 24 months of HAART. Improvement in DTH responses was also analyzed for those anergic before HAART initiation.
Non-anergic responses were observed in 216 (72%) participants, while 86 (28%) individuals were anergic prior to HAART initiation. Demographically there were similar distributions of age at HIV diagnosis and HAART initiation, as well as gender and race or ethnicity. There were no significant differences between non-anergic and anergic participants in pre-HAART CD4 count (409 cells/μL, interquartile range (IQR) 315–517 vs. 373 cells/μL, IQR 228–487; p=0.104) and VL (4.3 log10 copies/mL, IQR 3.4–4.9 vs. 4.4 log10 copies/mL, IQR 3.6–5.0; p=0.292). Median CD4 gains 24 months after HAART initiation were similar between the non-anergic (220 cells/μL, IQR 115–358) and anergic groups (246 cells/μL, IQR 136–358; p=0.498). For individuals anergic before HAART initiation, DTH normalization occurred at 24 months post-HAART in the majority of participants (51 of 86, 59%). Normalization of DTH responses was not associated with CD4 count at HAART initiation (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.47, 1.09 per 100 cells; p=0.129) nor with AIDS diagnoses prior to HAART (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.04, 2.51; p=0.283).
DTH responsiveness has been shown to predict HIV disease progression independent of CD4 count in untreated individuals. In the setting of HAART, pre-HAART anergy does not appear to impact CD4 gains or the ability to normalize DTH responses after 24 months of VL-suppressive HAART.
HIV; HAART; antiretroviral therapy; delayed-type hypersensitivity; DTH; CD4 cell count; anergy; anergic
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine responsiveness is associated with reduced risk of AIDS or death in HIV-infected individuals. Although HIV controllers (HIC) typically have favorable immunologic and clinical characteristics compared to non-controllers, vaccine responsiveness has not been studied.
Methods and Findings
In the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study, HBV vaccine response was defined as antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) ≥10 IU/L after last vaccination. For determination of vaccine responsiveness, HIC (n = 44) and treatment-naïve non-controllers (n = 476) were not on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) when vaccinated while treated non-controllers (n = 284) received all HBV vaccine doses during viral load (VL)-suppressive HAART. Progression to AIDS or death was also compared for all HIC (n = 143) and non-controllers (n = 1566) with documented anti-HBs regardless of the timing of HBV vaccination. Positive vaccine responses were more common in HIC (65.9%) compared to HAART-naïve non-controllers (36.6%; P<0.001), but similar to non-controllers on HAART (59.9%; P = 0.549). Factors associated with vaccine response for HIC compared to HAART-naïve non-controllers include HIC status (OR 2.65, 95% CI 1.23–5.89; P = 0.014), CD4 count at last vaccination (OR 1.28, 1.15–1.45 for every 100 cells/uL; P<0.001), and number of vaccine doses administered (OR 0.56, 0.35–0.88; P = 0.011). When HIC were compared to non-controllers on HAART, only CD4 count at last vaccination was significant (OR 1.23, 1.1–1.38 for every 100 cells/uL; P<0.001). The rate of AIDS or death per 100 person/years for HIC compared to non-controllers was 0.14 (95% CI 0–0.76) versus 0.98 (95% CI 0.74–1.28) for vaccine responders and 0 (95% CI 0–2.22) versus 4.11 (95% CI 3.38–4.96) for non-responders, respectively.
HIC have improved HBV vaccine responsiveness compared to treatment-naïve non-controllers, but similar to those on VL-suppressive HAART. Progression to AIDS or death can be predicted by HBV vaccine responder status for non-controllers, however these events are rarely observed in HIC.
Prior studies have suggested that HAART initiation may vary by race/ethnicity. Utilizing the U.S. military healthcare system, which minimizes confounding from healthcare access, we analyzed whether timing of HAART initiation and the appropriate initiation of primary prophylaxis among those at high risk for pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) varies by race/ethnicity.
Participants in the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study from 1998-2009 who had not initiated HAART before 1998 and who, based on DHHS guidelines, had a definite indication for HAART (CD4 <200, AIDS event or severe symptoms; Group A), an indication to consider HAART (including CD4 <350; Group B) or electively started HAART (CD4 >350; Group C) were analyzed for factors associated with HAART initiation. In a secondary analysis, participants were also evaluated for factors associated with starting primary PCP prophylaxis within four months of a CD4 count <200 cells/mm3. Multiple logistic regression was used to compare those who started vs. delayed therapy; comparisons were expressed as odds ratios (OR).
1262 participants were evaluated in the analysis of HAART initiation (A = 208, B = 637, C = 479 [62 participants were evaluated in both Groups A and B]; 94% male, 46% African American, 40% Caucasian). Race/ethnicity was not associated with HAART initiation in Groups A or B. In Group C, African American race/ethnicity was associated with lower odds of initiating HAART (OR 0.49, p = 0.04). Race and ethnicity were also not associated with the initiation of primary PCP prophylaxis among the 408 participants who were at risk.
No disparities in the initiation of HAART or primary PCP prophylaxis according to race/ethnicity were seen among those with an indication for therapy. Among those electively initiating HAART at the highest CD4 cell counts, African American race/ethnicity was associated with decreased odds of starting. This suggests that free healthcare can potentially overcome some of the observed disparities in HIV care, but that unmeasured factors may contribute to differences in elective care decisions.
HIV; HAART; Race; Ethnicity; Indications for HIV treatment; Disparities in care; African Americans
The development of next-generation sequencing technologies has facilitated the study of HIV drug resistance evolution. However, the high capacity and per-run cost of many sequencers is not ideal for viral sequencing unless many samples are analyzed simultaneously. Ion semiconductor sequencing has recently emerged as a flexible, lower-cost alternative with short runtime. This paper describes the use of Ion Torrent devices for deep sequencing of drug resistant HIV samples. High levels of sequencing coverage were obtained in HIV Gag and protease, allowing the detection of mutations at low frequencies.
HIV-1 drug resistance; deep sequencing; HIV protease; HIV Gag; Ion Torrent
To evaluate the impact of enzyme-inducing antiepileptic drugs (EI-AEDs) on serum antiretroviral (ARV) levels in patients with HIV.
Data from the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study were screened to identify participants taking ARVs with EI-AEDs and controls taking ARVs with non enzyme inducing AEDs (NEI-AEDs). The proportion of serum ARV levels below the recommended minimum concentrations (Cmin) was compared between these groups.
ARV levels were available for 10 individuals exposed to 16 intervals on combined ARVs/EI-AEDs (phenytoin and carbamazepine) and for 25 controls exposed to 30 overlap intervals on combined ARVs/NEI-AEDs. The percentage of overlap intervals with ≥1 ARV levels below Cmin was higher in the EI-AED group than in controls (37.5% vs. 23.3%; p=0.124). After excluding intervals associated with serum levels of EI-AEDs below the reference range (n=6), the proportion of intervals with ≥1 ARV level below Cmin was significantly greater among EI-AED recipients (60%) compared to controls (23.3%; p=0.008).
ARV levels below Cmin were more common in participants receiving EI-AEDs, the difference being statistically significant for intervals associated with EI-AED levels within the reference range. These data suggest that, in agreement with current guidelines, EI-AEDs should be avoided in patients receiving ARV therapy.
Drug interactions; pharmacokinetics; drug resistence; epilepsy; AIDS
Purpose of review
It is unknown whether biomarkers simply correlate with or are causal for HIV-associated outcomes. Mendelian randomization (MR), is a genetic epidemiologic approach used to disentangle causation from association. Here, we discuss the potential use of MR for differentiating whether biomarkers are correlating with or causal for HIV-associated outcomes.
MR refers to the random allocation of alleles at the time of gamete formation. In observational epidemiology, this refers to the use of genetic variants to estimate a causal effect between a modifiable risk factor and an outcome of interest. A formal MR study using a genetic marker as a proxy for the biomarker has not been conducted in the HIV field. However, in the post-genomic era this approach is being used increasingly. Examples are evidence for the causal role of body mass index on blood pressure and non-causal role of CRP in coronary heart disease. We discuss the conceptual framework, uses and limitations of MR in the context of HIV infection as well as specific biomarkers (IL-6, CRP) and genetic determinants (e.g., in CCR5, chemokine, and DARC genes) that associate with HIV-related outcomes.
Making the distinction between correlation and causality has particular relevance when a biomarker (e.g. IL-6) is potentially modifiable, in which case a biomarker-guided targeted treatment strategy may be feasible. Although the tenets of MR rest on strong assumptions, and conducting an MR study in HIV infection presents many challenges, it may offer the potential to identify causal biomarkers for HIV-associated outcomes.
Mendelian randomization; gene; chemokine; HIV; biomarker
The relationship between CD4+ T-cell counts determined soon after seroconversion with HIV-1 (baseline CD4), nadir CD4, and CD4 levels attained during highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is unknown.
Longitudinal, including baseline (at or soon after HIV diagnosis), intermediate (nadir), and distal (post-HAART) CD4+ T-cell counts were assessed in 1085 seroconverting subjects who achieved viral load suppression from a large well-characterized cohort. The association of baseline with post-HAART CD4+ T-cell count was determined after adjustment for other relevant covariates.
A higher baseline CD4+ T-cell count predicted a greater post- HAART CD4+ T-cell count, independent of the nadir and other explanatory variables. Together, baseline and nadir strongly predicted the post-HAART CD4+ count such that a high baseline and lower nadir were associated with a maximal immune recovery after HAART. Likelihood of recovery of the baseline count after HAART was significantly higher when the nadir/baseline count ratio was consistently ≥0.6.
Among viral load suppressing seroconverters, the absolute CD4+ T-cell count attained post-HAART is highly dependent on both baseline and nadir CD4+ T-cell counts. These associations further support the early diagnosis and initiation of HAART among HIV-infected persons.
CD4 count; highly active antiretroviral therapy; outcomes; predictors; treatment response
The relationship between the timing of the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) after infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and the recovery of CD4+ T-cell counts is unknown.
In a prospective, observational cohort of persons with acute or early HIV-1 infection, we determined the trajectory of CD4+ counts over a 48-month period in partially overlapping study sets: study set 1 included 384 participants during the time window in which they were not receiving ART and study set 2 included 213 participants who received ART soon after study entry or sometime thereafter and had a suppressed plasma HIV viral load. We investigated the likelihood and rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter within 48 months while the participants were receiving viral-load–suppressive ART.
Among the participants who were not receiving ART, CD4+ counts increased spontaneously, soon after HIV-1 infection, from the level at study entry (median, 495 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 383 to 622), reached a peak value (median, 763 cells per cubic millimeter; interquartile range, 573 to 987) within approximately 4 months after the estimated date of infection, and declined progressively thereafter. Recovery of CD4+ counts to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was seen in approximately 64% of the participants who initiated ART earlier (≤4 months after the estimated date of HIV infection) as compared with approximately 34% of participants who initiated ART later (>4 months) (P<0.001). After adjustment for whether ART was initiated when the CD4+ count was 500 or more cells per cubic millimeter or less than 500 cells per cubic millimeter, the likelihood that the count would increase to 900 or more cells per cubic millimeter was lower by 65% (odds ratio, 0.35), and the rate of recovery was slower by 56% (rate ratio, 0.44), if ART was initiated later rather than earlier. There was no association between the plasma HIV RNA level at the time of initiation of ART and CD4+ T-cell recovery.
A transient, spontaneous restoration of CD4+ T-cell counts occurs in the 4-month time window after HIV-1 infection. Initiation of ART during this period is associated with an enhanced likelihood of recovery of CD4+ counts. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others.)
The magnitude of HIV viral rebound following ART cessation has consequences for clinical outcome and onward transmission. We compared plasma viral load (pVL) rebound after stopping ART initiated in primary (PHI) and chronic HIV infection (CHI).
Two populations with protocol-indicated ART cessation from SPARTAC (PHI, n = 182) and SMART (CHI, n = 1450) trials.
Time for pVL to reach pre-ART levels after stopping ART was assessed in PHI using survival analysis. Differences in pVL between PHI and CHI populations 4 weeks after stopping ART were examined using linear and logistic regression. Differences in pVL slopes up to 48 weeks were examined using linear mixed models and viral burden was estimated through a time-averaged area-under-pVL curve. CHI participants were categorised by nadir CD4 at ART stop.
Of 171 PHI participants, 71 (41.5%) rebounded to pre-ART pVL levels, at a median of 50 (95% CI 48–51) weeks after stopping ART. Four weeks after stopping treatment, although the proportion with pVL≥400 copies/ml was similar (78% PHI versus 79% CHI), levels were 0.45 (95% CI 0.26–0.64) log10 copies/ml lower for PHI versus CHI, and remained lower up to 48 weeks. Lower CD4 nadir in CHI was associated with higher pVL after ART stop. Rebound for CHI participants with CD4 nadir >500 cells/mm3 was comparable to that experienced by PHI participants.
Stopping ART initiated in PHI and CHI was associated with viral rebound to levels conferring increased transmission risk, although the level of rebound was significantly lower and sustained in PHI compared to CHI.
To evaluate whether elevated CD8 counts are associated with increased risk of virologic treatment failure in HIV-infected individuals.
Retrospective cohort study.
U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study participants who initiated HAART in 1996-2008, had 6- and 12-month post-HAART HIV RNA <400 c/ml, ≥2 subsequent HIV viral loads and a baseline CD8 count were eligible (n=817). Baseline was 12 months after HAART start, virologic failure was defined as confirmed HIV RNA ≥400 c/ml, and CD8 counts ≥1200 cells/mm3 were considered elevated. Cox models were used to examine the effect of baseline and time-updated CD8 counts on virologic failure.
There were 216 failures for a rate of 5.6 per 100 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.9-6.4). Among those initiating HAART in 2000-2008, participants with elevated baseline CD8 counts had significantly greater risk of virologic failure compared to those with baseline CD8 counts ≤600 cells/mm3 (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.68, 95% CI 1.13 – 6.35). Participants with elevated CD8 counts at >20% of prior 6-month follow-up visits had greater risk of failure at the current visit than those who did not (HR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.14 - 2.06). Those with CD8 counts that increased after HAART start had greater risk of failure than those with CD8 counts that decreased or remained the same (HR = 1.59, 95% CI 1.19 – 2.13).
Initial or serial elevated CD8 counts while on HAART or an increase in CD8 counts from HAART initiation may be early warnings for future treatment failure.
Human immunodeficiency virus; CD8 count; antiretroviral therapy; HIV viral load suppression; HIV virologic failure
Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) testing, an in vivo assessment of cell-mediated immunity, is a predictor of HIV disease progression beyond CD4 cell count. We investigated whether preserved DTH responsiveness was characteristic of HIV controllers compared to non-controllers and individuals on suppressive HAART.
DTH testing consisted of ≥ 3 recall antigens applied approximately every 6 months. DTH responses were classified by the number of positive skin tests: anergic (0), partial anergic (1), or non-anergic (≥ 2). HIV controllers were compared to treatment naïve non-controllers (n = 3822) and a subgroup of non-controllers with VL < 400 copies/mL on their initial HAART regimen (n = 491). The proportion of non-anergic results at first DTH testing was similar for HIV controllers compared to non-controllers (81.9% vs. 77.6%; P = 0.22), but tended to be greater in HIV controllers compared to the HAART subgroup (81.9% vs. 74.5%; P = 0.07). Complete anergy was observed in 14 (10.1%) HIV controllers with CD4 counts ≥ 400 cells/uL. For longitudinal testing, the average percentage of non-anergic DTH determinations per participant was higher in HIV controllers compared to non-controllers (81.2 ± 31.9% vs. 70.7 ± 36.8%; P = 0.0002), however this difference was eliminated with stratification by CD4 count: 200-399 (83.4 ± 35.6% vs. 71.9 ± 40.9%; P = 0.15) and > 400 cells/uL (81.2 ± 31.5% vs. 80.4 ± 32.7%; P = 0.76).
Spontaneous virologic control was not associated with DTH responsiveness, and several HIV controllers were anergic despite having elevated CD4 counts. These findings suggest that cellular immunity assessed by DTH is not a principal factor contributing to spontaneous virologic suppression in HIV controllers.
HIV; Elite controllers; HIV controllers; Delayed-type hypersensitivity test; HAART
Whether seroresponse to a vaccine such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine can provide a measure of the functional immune status of HIV-infected persons is unknown.This study evaluated the relationship between HBV vaccine seroresponses and progression to clinical AIDS or death.
Methods and Findings
From a large HIV cohort, we evaluated those who received HBV vaccine only after HIV diagnosis and had anti-HBs determination 1–12 months after the last vaccine dose. Non-response and positive response were defined as anti-HBs <10 and ≥10 IU/L, respectively. Participants were followed from date of last vaccination to clinical AIDS, death, or last visit. Univariate and multivariable risk of progression to clinical AIDS or death were evaluated with Cox regression models. A total of 795 participants vaccinated from 1986–2010 were included, of which 41% were responders. During 3,872 person-years of observation, 122 AIDS or death events occurred (53% after 1995). Twenty-two percent of non-responders experienced clinical AIDS or death compared with 5% of responders (p<0.001). Non-response to HBV vaccine was associated with a greater than 2-fold increased risk of clinical AIDS or death (HR 2.47; 95% CI, 1.38–4.43) compared with a positive response, after adjusting for CD4 count, HIV viral load, HAART use, and delayed type hypersensitivity skin test responses (an in vivo marker of cell-mediated immunity). This association remained evident among those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3 (HR 3.40; 95% CI, 1.39–8.32).
HBV vaccine responses may have utility in assessing functional immune status and risk stratificating HIV-infected individuals, including those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3.
Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has improved HIV survival, some patients receiving therapy are still dying. This analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with increased risk of post-HAART mortality.
We evaluated baseline (prior to HAART initiation) clinical, demographic and laboratory factors (including CD4+ count and HIV RNA level) for associations with subsequent mortality in 1,600 patients who began HAART in a prospective observational cohort of HIV-infected U.S. military personnel.
Cumulative mortality was 5%, 10% and 18% at 4, 8 and 12 years post-HAART. Mortality was highest (6.23 deaths/100 person-years [PY]) in those with ≤ 50 CD4+ cells/mm3 before HAART initiation, and became progressively lower as CD4+ counts increased (0.70/100 PY with ≥ 500 CD4+ cells/mm3). In multivariate analysis, factors significantly (p < 0.05) associated with post-HAART mortality included: increasing age among those ≥ 40 years (Hazard ratio [HR] = 1.32 per 5 year increase), clinical AIDS events before HAART (HR = 1.93), ≤ 50 CD4+ cells/mm3 (vs. CD4+ ≥ 500, HR = 2.97), greater HIV RNA level (HR = 1.36 per one log10 increase), hepatitis C antibody or chronic hepatitis B (HR = 1.96), and HIV diagnosis before 1996 (HR = 2.44). Baseline CD4+ = 51-200 cells (HR = 1.74, p = 0.06), and hemoglobin < 12 gm/dL for women or < 13.5 for men (HR = 1.36, p = 0.07) were borderline significant.
Although treatment has improved HIV survival, defining those at greatest risk for death after HAART initiation, including demographic, clinical and laboratory correlates of poorer prognoses, can help identify a subset of patients for whom more intensive monitoring, counseling, and care interventions may improve clinical outcomes and post-HAART survival.
Highly active antiretroviral therapy; mortality; CD4+ lymphocyte count
Many cases of cutaneous vasculitis are drug-induced with histology revealing leukocytoclastic vasculitis (LCV). We present a case of levofloxacin-associated LCV successfully treated with prednisone and cessation of the offending drug. Although case reports describe a link between LCV and older fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin, recent reports have implicated the newer fluoroquinolone levofloxacin. Recognition of fluoroquinolone-induced cutaneous vasculitis is important as continuation or re-exposure of the offending agent may have life-threatening consequences.
levofloxacin; drug induced cutaneous vasculitis; leukocytoclastic vasculitis; fluoroquinolone.
We evaluated longitudinal rates of Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and trends in CD4 counts at the time of KS diagnosis during the HIV epidemic (1985–2008). Although rates of KS have decreased, cases are now occurring at higher CD4 counts over time, with more than a third of cases diagnosed in 2002–2008 occurring at CD4 counts ≥350 cells/mm3. These data support future studies evaluating the impact of HAART initiation at higher CD4 counts to further reduce KS.
The impact of viral load (VL) decay and cumulative VL on CD4 recovery and AIDS after highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is unknown.
Methods and Findings
Three virologic kinetic parameters (first year and overall exponential VL decay constants, and first year VL slope) and cumulative VL during HAART were estimated for 2,278 patients who initiated HAART in the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study. CD4 and VL trajectories were computed using linear and nonlinear Generalized Estimating Equations models. Multivariate Poisson and linear regression models were used to determine associations of VL parameters with CD4 recovery, adjusted for factors known to correlate with immune recovery. Cumulative VL higher than the sample median was independently associated with an increased risk of AIDS (relative risk 2.38, 95% confidence interval 1.56–3.62, p<0.001). Among patients with VL suppression, first year VL decay and slope were independent predictors of early CD4 recovery (p = 0.001) and overall gain (p<0.05). Despite VL suppression, those with slow decay during the first year of HAART as well as during the entire therapy period (overall), in general, gained less CD4 cells compared to the other subjects (133 vs. 195.4 cells/µL; p = 0.001) even after adjusting for potential confounders.
In a cohort with free access to healthcare, independent of established predictors of AIDS and CD4 recovery during HAART, cumulative VL and virologic decay patterns were associated with AIDS and distinct aspects of CD4 reconstitution.
To evaluate the efficacy of highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in individuals taking cytochrome P450 enzyme-inducing antiepileptics (EI-EADs), we evaluated the virologic response to HAART with or without concurrent antiepileptic use.
Participants in the US Military HIV Natural History Study were included if taking HAART for ≥6 months with concurrent use of EI-AEDs phenytoin, carbamazepine, or phenobarbital for ≥28 days. Virologic outcomes were compared to HAART-treated participants taking AEDs that are not CYP450 enzyme-inducing (NEI-AED group) as well as to a matched group of individuals not taking AEDs (non-AED group). For participants with multiple HAART regimens with AED overlap, the first 3 overlaps were studied.
EI-AED participants (n = 19) had greater virologic failure (62.5%) compared to NEI-AED participants (n = 85; 26.7%) for the first HAART/AED overlap period (OR 4.58 [1.47-14.25]; P = 0.009). Analysis of multiple overlap periods yielded consistent results (OR 4.29 [1.51-12.21]; P = 0.006). Virologic failure was also greater in the EI-AED versus NEI-AED group with multiple HAART/AED overlaps when adjusted for both year of and viral load at HAART initiation (OR 4.19 [1.54-11.44]; P = 0.005). Compared to the non-AED group (n = 190), EI-AED participants had greater virologic failure (62.5% vs. 42.5%; P = 0.134), however this result was only significant when adjusted for viral load at HAART initiation (OR 4.30 [1.02-18.07]; P = 0.046).
Consistent with data from pharmacokinetic studies demonstrating that EI-AED use may result in subtherapeutic levels of HAART, EI-AED use is associated with greater risk of virologic failure compared to NEI-AEDs when co-administered with HAART. Concurrent use of EI-AEDs and HAART should be avoided when possible.
To examine the outcomes of highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for individuals with free access to healthcare, we evaluated 2327 patients in a cohort study composed of military personnel and beneficiaries with HIV infection who initiated HAART from 1996 to the end of 2007.
Outcomes analyzed were virologic suppression (VS) and failure (VF), CD4 count changes, AIDS and death. VF was defined as never suppressing or having at least one rebound event. Multivariate (MV) analyses stratified by the HAART initiation year (before or after 2000) were performed to identify risk factors associated with these outcomes.
Among patients who started HAART after 2000, 81% had VS at 1 year (N = 1,759), 85% at 5 years (N = 1,061), and 82% at 8 years (N = 735). Five years post-HAART, the median CD4 increase was 247 cells/ml and 34% experienced VF. AIDS and mortality rates at 5 years were 2% and 0.3%, respectively. In a MV model adjusted for known risk factors associated with treatment response, being on active duty (versus retired) at HAART initiation was associated with a decreased risk of AIDS (HR = 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-1.0) and mortality (0.6, 0.3-0.9), an increased probability of CD4 increase ≥ 50% (1.2, 1.0-1.4), but was not significant for VF.
In this observational cohort, VS rates approach those described in clinical trials. Initiating HAART on active duty was associated with even better outcomes. These findings support the notion that free access to healthcare likely improves the response to HAART thereby reducing HIV-related morbidity and mortality.