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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2001 May 1;27(1):44-8.

Relation between CD4 cell counts and HIV RNA levels at onset of opportunistic infections.

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Infectious Diseases Division, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy.



To evaluate the relation between CD4 and HIV RNA levels at the onset of specific opportunistic infections (OIs) in HIV-infected patients.


The OIs occurring between June 1996 and December 1998 were retrospectively reviewed, considering only the episodes of major and minor OIs in patients with simultaneously available CD4 and plasma HIV RNA determinations before clinical onset who had been untreated or on stable antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least 2 months.


Two hundred seventy-four episodes of different OIs were considered in 216 patients; the median CD4 count was 35 cells/mm3 (range: 0-1154 cells/mm(3)), and the median HIV RNA count was 5.1 log cp/mL (range: < 1.9-6.7 log copies/ml). The different HIV RNA levels were significantly associated with different OIs regardless of CD4 and ART (p < .0001), even when only those occurring in patients with a CD4 count of < or = 50 cells/mm(3) were considered (p = .0049). Kaposi sarcoma, esophageal candidiasis, oropharyngeal candidiasis, and Mycobacterium avium complex disease were associated with significantly above-average median HIV RNA levels, and varicella-zoster virus infection was associated with below-average levels.


Different OIs are associated at their onset with significantly different HIV RNA levels, regardless of CD4 cell counts and ART.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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