Variability and Prognostic Values of Virologic and CD4 Cell Measures in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Patients with 200-500 CD4 Cells/mm3 (ACTG 175)

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Virologic measurements are increasingly used to evaluate prognosis and treatment responses in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 infection. Markers of HIV-1 replication, including infectious HIV-1 titer from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, serum HIV-1 p24 antigen, plasma HIV-1 RNA, CD4 cell numbers, and viral syncytium-inducing (SI) phenotype, were determined in 391 virology substudy participants in AIDS Clinical Trials Group study 175. The subjects had 200-500 CD4 cells/mm3. All markers of viral replication significantly correlated with one another and were inversely related to CD4 cell number. Disease progression to an AIDS-defining event or death or loss of >50% of CD4 cells was associated with infectious HIV-1 titer (P < .001), HIV-1 RNA (P < .001), and HIV-1 p24 antigen (P = .007). In multivariate proportional hazards models, p24 antigen was never significant when HIV-1 RNA level was included. In a model containing infectious HIV-1 titer (P = .038), HIV-1 RNA (P < .001), SI phenotype (P < .001), and CD4 cell number (P = .18), only the virologic parameters remained significantly associated with progression.

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