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HIV Med. 2008 Jul;9(6):397-405. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2008.00566.x. Epub 2008 Apr 10.

Delayed diagnosis of HIV infection and late initiation of antiretroviral therapy in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study.

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Basel Institute for Clinical Epidemiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.



To investigate delayed HIV diagnosis and late initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study.


Two sub-populations were included: 1915 patients with HIV diagnosis from 1998 to 2007 and within 3 months of cohort registration (group A), and 1730 treatment-naïve patients with CD4>or=200 cells/microL before their second cohort visit (group B). In group A, predictors for low initial CD4 cell counts were examined with a median regression. In group B, we studied predictors for CD4<200 cells/microL without ART despite cohort follow-up.


Median initial CD4 cell count in group A was 331 cells/microL; 31% and 10% were <200 and <50 cells/microL, respectively. Risk factors for low CD4 count were age and non-White race. Homosexual transmission, intravenous drug use and living alone were protective. In group B, 30% initiated ART with CD4>or=200 cells/microL; 18% and 2% dropped to CD4 <200 and <50 cells/microL without ART, respectively. Sub-Saharan origin was associated with lower probability of CD4 <200 cells/microL without ART during follow-up. Median CD4 count at ART initiation was 207 and 253 cells/microL in groups A and B, respectively.


CD4<200 cells/microL and, particularly, CD4<50 cells/microL before starting ART are predominantly caused by late presentation. Earlier HIV diagnosis is paramount.

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