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J Infect Dis. 2002 Sep 15;186(6):851-4. Epub 2002 Aug 28.

Effect of prolonged discontinuation of successful antiretroviral therapy on CD4+ T cell decline in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients: implications for intermittent therapeutic strategies.

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  • 1Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.

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  • J Infect Dis 2002 Oct 15;186(8):1198.


This study evaluates the change in CD4(+) T cell counts among patients who achieved complete viral suppression and subsequently discontinued highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We included 72 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected patients with plasma HIV RNA loads of <500 copies/mL for at least 3 months who then discontinued therapy for at least 12 weeks. The median CD4(+) T decay while off HAART was 16 cells/mm(3)/month (interquartile range, -6 to -34 cells/month). The mean follow-up after therapy ended was 45 weeks. The slope of the CD4(+) T cell decay was inversely correlated with the increase of CD4(+) T cells while receiving HAART, baseline virus load, CD4(+) T cell count at the time therapy was discontinued, age, and duration HIV RNA levels were undetectable. In a multiple regression analysis model, the increase of CD4(+) T cells while receiving therapy and age were independently associated with the rate of CD4(+) T cell loss.

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