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HIV Clin Trials. 2011 Jan-Feb;12(1):1-8. doi: 10.1310/hct1201-1.

Late initiation of HAART among HIV-infected patients in Spain is frequent and related to a higher rate of virological failure but not to immigrant status.

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Servicio de Enfermedades Infecciosas, Medicina Tropical, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, IRYCIS, Madrid, Spain.



To determine whether immigrant status is associated with late initiation of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) and/or poor response to antiretrovirals.


GESIDA 5808 is a multicenter, retrospective cohort study (inclusion period January 2005 through December 2006) of treatment-naïve patients initiating HAART that compares HIV-infected patients who are immigrants with Spanish-born patients. A late starter (LS) was defined as any patient starting HAART with a CD4+ lymphocyte count <200 cells/μL and/or diagnosis of an AIDS-defining illness before or at the start of therapy. The primary endpoint was time to treatment failure (TTF), defined as virological failure (VF), death, opportunistic infection, treatment discontinuation/switch (D/S), or missing patient. Secondary endpoints were time to treatment failure as observed data (TTO; censoring missing patients) and time to virological failure (TVF; censoring missing patients and D/S not due to VF).


LS accounted for 56% of the patients. Lower educational and socioeconomic level and intravenous drug use (IVDU) were associated with categorization as LS, but immigrant status was not. Cox regression analysis (hazard ratio [HR]; 95% CI) between LS and non-LS patients showed no differences in TTF (0.97; 0.78-1.20) or TTO (1.18; 0.88-1.58), although it did reveal a difference in TVF (1.97; 1.18-3.29). CD4+ lymphocyte recovery was equivalent for both LS and non-LS patients (159 vs 173).


In our cohort, immigrant status was not shown to be related to late initiation of HAART. Although LS patients did not have a longer TTF for any reason, TVF was significantly shorter. Despite universal free access to HAART in Spain, measures to ensure early diagnosis and treatment of HIV infection are necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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