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Risk Factors for Low CD4+ Count Recovery Despite Viral Suppression among Participants Initiating Antiretroviral Treatment with CD4+ Counts > 500 cells/mm3: Findings From the Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Therapy (START) Trial

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BACKGROUND: Low CD4 recovery among HIV-positive individuals who achieve virologic suppression is common but has not been studied among individuals initiating treatment at CD4 counts of >500 cells/mm.

SETTING: United States, Africa, Asia, Europe and Israel, Australia, Latin America.

METHODS: Among participants randomized to immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Therapy trial, low CD4 recovery was defined as a CD4 increase of <50 cells/mm from baseline after 8 months despite viral load of ≤200 copies/mL. Risk factors for low recovery were investigated with logistic regression.

RESULTS: Low CD4 recovery was observed in 39.7% of participants. Male sex [odds ratio (OR), 1.53; P = 0.007], lower screening CD4 cell counts (OR, 1.09 per 100 fewer cells/mm; P = 0.004), higher baseline CD8 cell counts (OR, 1.05 per 100 more cells/mm; P < 0.001), and lower HIV RNA levels (OR, 1.93 per log10 decrease; P < 0.001) were associated with low CD4 recovery. D-dimer had a quadratic association with low CD4 recovery, with lowest odds occurring at 0.32 μg/mL. At lower HIV RNA levels, the odds of low CD4 recovery were elevated across the levels of screening CD4 count; but at higher HIV RNA levels, the odds of low CD4 recovery were higher among those with lower vs. higher screening CD4.

CONCLUSIONS: Low CD4 recovery is frequent among participants starting ART at high CD4 counts. Risk factors include male sex, lower screening CD4 cell counts, higher CD8 cell counts, and lower HIV RNA levels. More follow-up is required to determine the impact of low CD4 recovery on clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes (1999)
Volume81
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
ISSN1525-4135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

ID: 56862188