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Rev Med Chil. 1996 May;124(5):525-35.

[Natural history of human immunodeficiency virus infection in a cohort of Chilean patients].

[Article in Spanish]

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Facultad de Medicina, P'ontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.


We characterized clinical manifestations and the risk to develop AIDS in a cohort of 32 patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus without AIDS A multivariate analysis was performed to determine association between the progression of infection and control variables (socioeconomic level, age, sex and sexual preferences) and causal variables (psycho-social changes, significant clinical events, stress scoring and sexual activity). The cumulative AIDS incidence, defined as a CD4 lymphocyte count below 200 cells/cm3 was 50% at 6.5 years and 82% at 8 years. Using clinical criteria to define AIDS, 50% developed the disease at 8 years of follow up. Among studied factors, only age (faster progression at higher age) and time of evolution were associated with progression in stages before AIDS, the most frequent diseases were acute diarrhea, sexual transmission diseases, oral candidiasis, sinusitis and varicella zoster infections. The reduction; of CD4 lymphocytes-below 200 cells/cm3 always preceded the symptoms of the disease. Two patients have remained more than eight years without clinical or immunological deterioration.


Clinical manifestations and the risk of developing AIDS were studied in a cohort of 32 HIV-seropositive patients referred by their treating physicians to the Center for Medical Investigation of the Catholic University of Chile. The only exclusion criteria were a CD4 lymphocyte count below 400 or marked symptoms of AIDS. The study design included an examination at entry and every 6 months thereafter for a maximum follow up of 3 years. A multivariate analysis was conducted to determine the relation between disease progression and control and causal variables. The subjects were 8 women averaging 38 years old and 24 men averaging 33 years. Most were middle class and had higher education. 46% of the men became sexually active before age 15 and 42% were homosexual. HIV transmission was sexual in 28 subjects, through intravenous drug use in 2, and by unknown route in 2. The subjects had been infected for an average of 4.3 years at entry into the study. Of the 30 whose date of infection was known, 16 developed AIDS during the study according to the criterion of CD4 lymphocyte count below 200, and 8 of these developed markers of AIDS. 50% of patients developed AIDS 6.5 years after infection and 82% 8 years after. Using clinical criteria, 50% of patients had developed AIDS 8 years after infection. Multivariate analysis showed only subject's age at infection (faster progression at higher ages) and length of time since infection to be related to the risk of developing AIDS. No association was observed between development of the disease and sex, sexual orientation, use of alcohol or drugs, smoking, history of sexually transmitted diseases, number of sexual partners, or frequency of sexual relations. The most frequently observed pathologies before the stage of AIDS were acute diarrhea, sexually transmitted diseases, oral candidiasis, sinusitis, and varicela zoster infections. In the patients who progressed to AIDS, the decline of the CD4 lymphocyte count below 200 always preceded other symptoms. Two patients showed no significant decline in CD4 lymphocyte count or clinical manifestations of AIDS more than 8 years after infection.

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