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J Infect Dis. 1997 May;175(5):1029-38.

The relationship between serum human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA level, CD4 lymphocyte percent, and long-term mortality risk in HIV-1-infected children. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Intravenous Immunoglobulin Clinical Trial Study Group.

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  • 1Pediatric, Adolescent and Maternal AIDS Branch, Center for Research for Mothers and Children, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


Association of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA level, CD4 cell percent, and mortality was examined in stored sera from 254 infected children in an intravenous immunoglobulin infection prophylaxis trial. Ninety-two children (36.2%) died (41 during the study, 51 during long-term follow-up). The geometric mean baseline HIV-1 RNA level was 104,626 copies/mL, and the mean CD4 cell percent was 25%. Relative risk of death (RR) was 2.1 if the baseline RNA level was >100,000 copies/mL (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-3.0) and was 3.0 if the baseline CD4 cell percent was <15% (95% CI, 2.2-4.0). If RNA levels increased after baseline, the RR was 1.8 (95% CI, 1.3-2.6), and if the CD4 cell percent dropped to <15%, the RR was 2.8 (95% CI, 1.6-4.9). In a multivariate model, both baseline RNA level and CD4 cell percent were independently associated with mortality risk. In a time-dependent model, the RR per log10 increase in HIV-1 RNA copy numbers was 2.8 (95% CI, 2.1-3.6) and per 5 percentage point decrement in CD4 cell percent was 1.3 (95% CI, 1.2-1.5). Both variables should be considered for in decision-making regarding therapy and evaluation of antiretroviral response.

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