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Initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) early improves clinical outcomes and prevents transmission. Guidelines for first-line therapy have changed with the availability of newer ART agents. In this study, we compared persistence and virologic responses with initial ART according to the class of anchor agent used.An observational clinical cohort study in the Southeastern United States.All HIV-infected patients participating in the UNC Center for AIDS Research Clinical Cohort (UCHCC) and initiating ART between 1996 and 2014 were included. Separate time-to-event analyses with regimen discontinuation and virologic failure as outcomes were used, including Kaplan–Meier survival curves and adjusted Cox proportional hazards models.One thousand six hundred twenty-four patients were included (median age of 37 years at baseline, 28% women, 60% African American, and 28% white). Eleven percent initiated integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI), 33% non–nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), 20% boosted protease inhibitor, 27% other, and 9% NRTI only regimens. Compared with NNRTI-containing regimens, INSTI-containing regimens had an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.49 (95% confidence interval, 0.35 to 0.69) for discontinuation and 0.70 (95% confidence interval, 0.46 to 1.06) for virologic failure. All other regimen types were associated with increased rates of discontinuation and failure compared with NNRTI.Initiating ART with an INSTI-containing regimen was associated with lower rates of regimen discontinuation and virologic failure.