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Int J STD AIDS. 2012 Mar;23(3):201-6. doi: 10.1258/ijsa.2011.011178.

Are there benefits to starting antiretroviral therapy during primary HIV infection? Conclusions from the Seattle Primary Infection Cohort vary by control group.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.


It is controversial whether starting combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) during primary HIV infection (PHI) is beneficial. Subjects in this observational cohort began cART <30 days (group 1: acute treatment, n = 40), 31-180 days (group 2: early treatment, n = 82) or >180 days (group 3: delayed treatment, n = 35) after HIV infection, and were compared with 27 historical and 60 contemporary controls. Time to HIV-related diagnoses did not differ for group 1 (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.44, P = 0.3) or group 2 (aHR 1.17, P = 0.5) compared with contemporary controls, but it was delayed for both treated groups (aHR 0.38 for group 1, P = 0.01; and aHR 0.28 for group 2, P < 0.0001) compared with historical controls. Although rates of HIV-related diagnoses were similar in acutely treated subjects and contemporary controls, results were confounded by associations between higher CD4 counts, lower HIV RNA levels and delayed disease progression as reasons for deferring treatment. Randomized trials are needed to address benefits of cART during PHI.

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