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AIDS Res Ther. 2011 Nov 7;8(1):42. doi: 10.1186/1742-6405-8-42.

Incidence and risk factors of antiretroviral treatment failure in treatment-naïve HIV-infected patients at Chiang Mai University Hospital, Thailand.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.



The use of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) has become a standard of care for the treatment of HIV infection. However, cost and resistance to cART are major obstacles for access to treatment especially in resource-limited settings. In this study, we aimed to determine the incidence and risk factors of treatment failure in a cohort of treatment-naïve Thai HIV-infected patients.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted among HIV-infected patients initiating their first cART at Chiang Mai University Hospital, Thailand.


From January 2002 to December 2008, 788 patients were enrolled; 365 were male (46.3%), and the mean age was 37.9 ± 8.6 years. The median baseline CD4 count was 57.7 cells/mm3 (IQR 22, 127). GPO-VIR® (a fixed-dose combination of lamivudine, stavudine, and nevirapine) was the most common prescribed cART (657 patients, 83.4%). Seventy-six patients developed virological failure given the cumulative incidence of 9.6%. The incidence of virological failure was 2.79 (95% CI 2.47, 3.14) cases per 100 person years. Poor adherence was the strongest predictor for virological failure. Of 535 immunologically evaluable patients, 179 (33.5%) patients developed immunological failure. A low CD4 cell count at baseline (< 100 cells/mm3) and the increment of CD4 cell count of < 50 cell/mm3 after 6 months of cART were the predictors for immunological failure (p < 0.001).


This study demonstrated that even in resource-limited settings, the high rate of success could be expected in the cohort with good and sustainable drug adherence. Poor adherence, older age, and low baseline CD4 cell count are the predictors for unfavorable outcome of cART.

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