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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004 Jul 1;36(3):783-90.

Initiation of antiretroviral therapy during recent HIV-1 infection results in lower residual viral reservoirs.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Imperial College London, UK.


To measure proviral HIV-1 DNA in patients treated with effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) during recent and chronic HIV-1 infection, and in long-term non-progressors (LTNP). We quantified HIV-1 DNA in peripheral blood samples from 39 HIV-1-infected subjects; 26 patients initiated non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) based ART at two different stages of infection: 16 during recent infection (RI) (HIV-1 exposure >60 days <1 year), and 10 during chronic infection (CI) (infected >2 years). The results were compared with those seen in 13 LTNP (infected >8 years, therapy naïve, and controlled viremia). Thirty-six weeks after initiation of ART, HIV-1-proviral DNA levels decreased from baseline in the RI group (P < 0.005) to levels comparable to LTNP. HIV-1 DNA also declined in the CI group (P = 0.053) but it remained significantly higher than in RI (P < 0.002) and LTNP (P < 0.02). However, plasma HIV-1 RNA levels become undetectable in 80% of CI patients 12 weeks post initiation of ART, compared to 41.2% in the RI group. All patients reached undetectable viremia by week 36 of therapy. These data indicate that initiation of NNRTI based ART during recent HIV-1 infection reduces HIV-1 DNA to levels comparable to those seen in LTNP, which is not apparent if therapy is started during chronic infection, and suggests an association between timing of initiation of ART and decay of the HIV-1 reservoir.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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