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      Declining Morbidity and Mortality among Patients with Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

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          Abstract

          National surveillance data show recent, marked reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). To evaluate these declines, we analyzed data on 1255 patients, each of whom had at least one CD4+ count below 100 cells per cubic millimeter, who were seen at nine clinics specializing in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in eight U.S. cities from January 1994 through June 1997. Mortality among the patients declined from 29.4 per 100 person-years in the first quarter of 1995 to 8.8 per 100 in the second quarter of 1997. There were reductions in mortality regardless of sex, race, age, and risk factors for transmission of HIV. The incidence of any of three major opportunistic infections (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, Mycobacterium avium complex disease, and cytomegalovirus retinitis) declined from 21.9 per 100 person-years in 1994 to 3.7 per 100 person-years by mid-1997. In a failure-rate model, increases in the intensity of antiretroviral therapy (classified as none, monotherapy, combination therapy without a protease inhibitor, and combination therapy with a protease inhibitor) were associated with stepwise reductions in morbidity and mortality. Combination antiretroviral therapy was associated with the most benefit; the inclusion of protease inhibitors in such regimens conferred additional benefit. Patients with private insurance were more often prescribed protease inhibitors and had lower mortality rates than those insured by Medicare or Medicaid. The recent declines in morbidity and mortality due to AIDS are attributable to the use of more intensive antiretroviral therapies.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Rapid turnover of plasma virions and CD4 lymphocytes in HIV-1 infection.

          Treatment of infected patients with ABT-538, an inhibitor of the protease of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), causes plasma HIV-1 levels to decrease exponentially (mean half-life, 2.1 +/- 0.4 days) and CD4 lymphocyte counts to rise substantially. Minimum estimates of HIV-1 production and clearance and of CD4 lymphocyte turnover indicate that replication of HIV-1 in vivo is continuous and highly productive, driving the rapid turnover of CD4 lymphocytes.
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            Plasma viral load and CD4+ lymphocytes as prognostic markers of HIV-1 infection.

            The rate of disease progression among persons infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) varies widely, and the relative prognostic value of markers of disease activity has not been defined. To compare clinical, serologic, cellular, and virologic markers for their ability to predict progression to the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and death during a 10-year period. Prospective, multicenter cohort study. Four university-based clinical centers participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. 1604 men infected with HIV-1. The markers compared were oral candidiasis (thrush) or fever; serum neopterin levels; serum beta 2-microglobulin levels; number and percentage of CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ lymphocytes; and plasma viral load, which was measured as the concentration of HIV-1 RNA found using a sensitive branched-DNA signal-amplification assay. Plasma viral load was the single best predictor of progression to AIDS and death, followed (in order of predictive strength) by CD4+ lymphocyte count and serum neopterin levels, serum beta 2-microglobulin levels, and thrush or fever. Plasma viral load discriminated risk at all levels of CD4+ lymphocyte counts and predicted their subsequent rate of decline. Five risk categories were defined by plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations: 500 copies/mL or less, 501 to 3000 copies/mL, 3001 to 10000 copies/mL, 10001 to 30000 copies/mL, and more than 30000 copies/mL. Highly significant (P < 0.001) differences in the percentages of participants who progressed to AIDS within 6 years were seen in the five risk categories: 5.4%, 16.6%, 31.7%, 55.2%, and 80.0%, respectively. Highly significant (P < 0.001) differences in the percentages of participants who died of AIDS within 6 years were also seen in the five risk categories: 0.9%, 6.3%, 18.1%, 34.9%, and 69.5%, respectively. A regression tree incorporating both HIV-1 RNA measurements and CD4+ lymphocyte counts provided better discrimination of outcome than did either marker alone; use of both variables defined categories of risk for AIDS within 6 years that ranged from less than 2% to 98%. Plasma viral load strongly predicts the rate of decrease in CD4+ lymphocyte count and progression to AIDS and death, but the prognosis of HIV-infected persons is more accurately defined by combined measurement of plasma HIV-1 RNA and CD4+ lymphocytes.
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              A controlled trial of two nucleoside analogues plus indinavir in persons with human immunodeficiency virus infection and CD4 cell counts of 200 per cubic millimeter or less. AIDS Clinical Trials Group 320 Study Team.

              The efficacy and safety of adding a protease inhibitor to two nucleoside analogues to treat human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection are not clear. We compared treatment with the protease inhibitor indinavir in addition to zidovudine and lamivudine with treatment with the two nucleosides alone in HIV-infected adults previously treated with zidovudine. A total of 1156 patients not previously treated with lamivudine or protease inhibitors were stratified according to CD4 cell count (50 or fewer vs. 51 to 200 cells per cubic millimeter) and randomly assigned to one of two daily regimens: 600 mg of zidovudine (or stavudine) and 300 mg of lamivudine, or that regimen with 2400 mg of indinavir. The primary end point was the time to the development of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or death. The proportion of patients whose disease progressed to AIDS or death was lower with indinavir, zidovudine, and lamivudine (6 percent) than with zidovudine and lamivudine alone (11 percent; estimated hazard ratio, 0.50; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.33 to 0.76; P=0.001). Mortality in the two groups was 1.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively (estimated hazard ratio, 0.43; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.19 to 0.99; P=0.04). The effects of treatment were similar in both CD4 cell strata. The responses of CD4 cells and plasma HIV-1 RNA paralleled the clinical results. Treatment with indinavir, zidovudine, and lamivudine as compared with zidovudine and lamivudine alone significantly slows the progression of HIV-1 disease in patients with 200 CD4 cells or fewer per cubic millimeter and prior exposure to zidovudine.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                March 26 1998
                March 26 1998
                : 338
                : 13
                : 853-860
                Article
                10.1056/NEJM199803263381301
                9516219
                © 1998

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