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J Clin Virol. 2007 Mar;38(3):254-9. Epub 2007 Feb 5.

Progressive outer retinal necrosis in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy: successful management with intravitreal injections and monitoring with quantitative PCR.

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  • 1National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD, USA.



Progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) is an ocular disease in individuals with AIDS and is associated with substantial morbidity. The optimal management of PORN and its clinical course in the HAART era is unclear.


We report a case of successfully managed PORN that provides insight into the monitoring and treatment of this disease.


Intravitreal injections and intravenous therapy targeted towards varicella zoster virus (VZV) were used to treat PORN. HAART was initiated for HIV-1 therapy. Serial PCR for VZV was performed on aqueous humor to monitor the clinical course.


The presence of VZV DNA from aqueous humor correlated with clinical exacerbations of disease. Initiation of twice weekly intravitreal injections with dual antiviral drugs appeared to be an important therapeutic intervention that resulted in remission of PORN. Secondary prophylaxis against VZV was successfully withdrawn after HAART induced partial immune recovery.


In addition to aggressive therapy with intravitreal injections, HAART and quantitative measurements of VZV DNA from aqueous humor have important roles in the management of PORN. A multidisciplinary approach involving specialists in infectious diseases, ophthalmology, and clinical microbiology will improve the chances for successful long-term outcomes.

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