Is AIDS a floating point between HIV seroconversion and death? Insights from the Tricontinental Seroconverter Study

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Objective:To investigate the significance of the time from seroconversion to AIDS (incubation time) and other covariates for survival from AIDS to death.Methods:In survival analysis, survival from AIDS to death was compared for different categories of length of incubation time adjusted and unadjusted for other covariates, and significant predictors for survival from AIDS to death were investigated.Results:Survival after AIDS was not affected by the incubation time in univariate as well as in multivariate analyses. Predictive factors for progression from AIDS to death were age at seroconversion, type of AIDS diagnosis, and CD4 cell count at AIDS. The relative hazard for age at seroconversion increased 1.38-fold over 10 years. Men with a CD4 cell count at AIDS of <130 × 106/l had a twofold higher risk in progression to death than men with higher CD4 cell counts. Persons diagnosed with lymphoma had a sixfold higher risk of progression to death than persons with Kaposi's sarcoma or opportunistic infections.Conclusions:The incubation time as well as other factors before AIDS did not affect survival after AIDS. Survival from AIDS to death can be predicted by data obtained at the time of AIDS diagnosis, such as type of diagnosis, age and CD4 cell count. AIDS seems to be a significant point in progression to death, and not just a floating point between infection and death affected by prior factors for persons who did not receive effective therapy and did not have long incubation times.

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