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BMC Infect Dis. 2009 Aug 12;9:128. doi: 10.1186/1471-2334-9-128.

Improvement in survival among HIV-infected individuals in the Republic of Korea: need for an early HIV diagnosis.

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Division of AIDS, Korea National Institute of Health, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Seoul, Korea.



There is little information describing survival in HIV-infected patients after primary diagnosis in Korea, and changes in survival over time. This study investigated survival times, survival characteristics, and changes in survival after initial HIV diagnosis. Survival was characterized by evaluation of the immune status at primary HIV diagnosis nationwide.


A total of 5,323 HIV-infected individuals were registered with the government and followed until the end of 2007. Survival following HIV diagnosis was estimated based on epidemiological characteristics. We examined 3,369 individuals with available initial CD4+ T-cell counts within 6 months of HIV diagnosis to estimate survival based on immune status at diagnosis. The association between epidemiological variables and survival times was analyzed with univariate and multivariate Cox's proportional hazards model.


Individuals died during the study period (n = 980), and 45% of the individuals died within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. The median survival following HIV diagnosis was 16.7 years. Survival were longer in women, in younger persons, in individuals diagnosed at blood centers, and in individuals diagnosed later in the study period. Survival were shortest in individuals with CD4+ T-cell counts <200 cells/mm3 at HIV diagnosis. These results suggest that early HIV diagnosis in Korea is imperative to increase survival and to promote the quality of life for HIV-infected individuals with governmental support.


The median survival time of HIV-infected individuals following HIV diagnosis was 16.7 years in Korea. The survival was significantly lower in individuals with CD4+ T-cell counts <200 cells/mm3 at HIV diagnosis and higher by introduction of drugs and development of therapy.

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