Background. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) has been associated with increased HIV mortality, but prospective studies assessing treatment outcomes after combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation in resource-limited settings are lacking.
Methods. A case-cohort study (N = 411) was nested within a randomized cART trial of 1571 cART-naive adults in 8 resource-limited settings and the United States. The primary outcome (WHO stage 3/4 disease or death within 96 weeks of cART initiation) was met by 192 cases, and 152 and 29 cases met secondary outcomes of virologic and immunologic failure. We studied prevalence and risk factors for baseline low 25(OH)D (<32 ng/mL) and examined associated outcomes using proportional hazard models.
Results. Low 25(OH)D prevalence was 49% and ranged from 27% in Brazil to 78% in Thailand. Low 25(OH)D was associated with high body mass index (BMI), winter/spring season, country-race group, and lower viral load. Baseline low 25(OH)D was associated with increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) progression and death (adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09–4.18) and virologic failure (aHR 2.42; 95% CI, 1.33–4.41).
Conclusions. Low 25(OH)D is common in diverse HIV-infected populations and is an independent risk factor for clinical and virologic failure. Studies examining the potential benefit of vitamin D supplementation among HIV patients initiating cART are warranted.