Short-cycle structured intermittent treatment of chronic HIV infection with highly active antiretroviral therapy: Effects on virologic, immunologic, and toxicity parameters

Academic Article


  • Although continuous highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is effective for many HIV-infected patients, it can be toxic and prohibitive in cost. By decreasing the total amount of time patients receive medications, intermittent HAART could reduce toxicity and cost. Therefore, we initiated a pilot study in which 10 HIV-infected individuals receiving effective therapy that resulted in levels of HIV RNA <50 copies per ml of plasma and CD4+ T cell counts > 300 cells per mm3 of whole blood received repeated cycles of 7 days on HAART followed by 7 days off of HAART. Patients maintained suppression of plasma viremia for 32-68 weeks. There was no significant increase in HIV proviral DNA or replication-competent HIV in peripheral CD4+ T cells or HIV RNA in peripheral blood or lymph node mononuclear cells. There was no significant change in CD4+ T cell counts, no significant increase in CD4+ or CD8+ T cells expressing activation markers or producing IFN-γ in response to HIV, no increase in CD4+ T cell proliferation to p24 antigen, and no evidence for the development of resistance to HAART medications. There was a significant decrease in serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Thus, in this proof-of-concept study, short-cycle intermittent HAART maintained suppression of plasma viremia as well as HIV replication in reservoir sites while preserving CD4+ T cell counts. In addition, there was a decrease in serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Intermittent therapy may be an important strategy to reduce cost and toxicity for HIV-infected individuals.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dybul M; Chun TW; Yoder C; Hidalgo B; Belson M; Hertogs K; Larder B; Dewar RL; Fox CH; Hallahan CW
  • Start Page

  • 15161
  • End Page

  • 15166
  • Volume

  • 98
  • Issue

  • 26