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Arch Intern Med. 2002 Sep 23;162(17):1973-80.

Risk of progression to AIDS and death in women infected with HIV-1 initiating highly active antiretroviral treatment at different stages of disease.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, NY 10451, USA.



The optimal virologic and immunologic stage at which to initiate antiretroviral therapy in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is undefined.


Among 1054 HIV-1-infected women in a prospective cohort study, we determined the time from initiation of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and death.


Median follow-up was 3.4 years. Of 553 women without AIDS at HAART initiation, 62 (11%) developed AIDS. Compared with women with CD4(+) cell counts greater than 350/microL at HAART initiation, women with cell counts of 200 to 350/microL and less than 200/microL had relative hazards (RHs) for progression to AIDS of 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.46-1.86) and 2.48 (95% CI, 1.39-4.42), respectively. Compared with those with HIV-1 RNA values less than 5000 copies/mL, women with 5000 to 50,000 copies/mL and greater than 50,000 copies/mL had RHs of 1.39 (95% CI, 0.74-2.64) and 2.09 (95% CI, 1.09-3.99), respectively. Among women with AIDS at HAART initiation (n = 501), RHs of death were 1.97 (95% CI, 0.84-4.66) and 3.35 (95% CI, 1.59-7.08) with CD4(+) cell counts of 200 to 350/microL and less than 200/microL, respectively, relative to those with greater than 350/microL, and 1.90 (95% CI, 0.84-4.30) and 3.70 (95% CI, 1.81-7.54) for those with HIV-1 RNA values of 5000 to 50,000 and greater than 50,000 copies/mL, respectively, relative to those with less than 5000 copies/mL.


Progression to AIDS and death was predicted by pre-HAART values of less than 200/microL for CD4(+) cells and greater than 50,000 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL, indicating that deferral of HAART until the CD4(+) cell count is between 350 and 200/microL is a valid strategy in the clinical management of HIV-1 infection.

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