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AIDS. 2000 Dec 22;14(18):2805-12.

Decay of cell-associated HIV-1 DNA correlates with residual replication in patients treated during acute HIV-1 infection.

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Laboratory of Virology, Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland.



To evaluate the decay rate of cell-associated HIV-1 RNA and DNA and to identify factors associated with residual viral load in patients treated at the time of primary HIV-1 infection.


A group of 15 patients adherent to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) with sustained undetectable HIV-1 viremia for at least 24 months.


Viremia, cell-associated HIV-1 RNA and DNA in blood and lymph node mononuclear cells were measured using ultrasensitive assays.


Viremia decreased rapidly in all patients; HIV RNA remained < 3 copies/ml in nine patients and fluctuated between 3 and 50 copies/ml in five patients and between 50 and 200 copies/ml in one patient. Decay rates of cell-associated RNA and DNA presented an inflexion point at 1 and 3 months, respectively: first-phase mean half-lives were 0.15 and 0.84 months, respectively, and second-phase mean half-lives were 13.7 and 6.6 months, respectively (95% confidence interval 4.4-13.8). The second phase decay rates were markedly slower, with a DNA decay rate that was highly associated with the mean levels of cell-associated RNA measured in blood from 6 to 33 months (P= 0.001) and in lymph nodes collected at 14 months (P= 0.02).


The clearance of HIV-1 infected cells is correlated with the extent of viral replication as measured by cell-associated RNA levels in both blood and lymph nodes. Quantification of cell-associated RNA and DNA further defines treatment efficacy in 'aviremic' patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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