When to monitor CD4 cell count and HIV RNA to reduce mortality and aids-defining illness in virologically suppressed hiv-positive persons on antiretroviral therapy in high-income countries: A prospective observational study

Academic Article


  • Objective: To illustrate an approach to compare CD4 cell count and HIV-RNA monitoring strategies in HIV-positive individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Design: Prospective studies of HIV-positive individuals in Europe and the USA in the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration and The Center for AIDS Research Network of Integrated Clinical Systems. Methods: Antiretroviral-naive individuals who initiated ART and became virologically suppressed within 12 months were followed from the date of suppression. We compared 3 CD4 cell count and HIV-RNA monitoring strategies: once every (1) 3 6 1 months, (2) 6 6 1 months, and (3) 9-12 6 1 months. We used inverseprobability weighted models to compare these strategies with respect to clinical, immunologic, and virologic outcomes. Results: In 39,029 eligible individuals, there were 265 deaths and 690 AIDS-defining illnesses or deaths. Compared with the 3-month strategy, the mortality hazard ratios (95% CIs) were 0.86 (0.42 to 1.78) for the 6 months and 0.82 (0.46 to 1.47) for the 9-12 month strategy. The respective 18-month risk ratios (95% CIs) of virologic failure (RNA .200) were 0.74 (0.46 to 1.19) and 2.35 (1.56 to 3.54) and 18-month mean CD4 differences (95% CIs) were 25.3 (218.6 to 7.9) and 231.7 (252.0 to 211.3). The estimates for the 2-year risk of AIDS-defining illness or death were similar across strategies. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that monitoring frequency of virologically suppressed individuals can be decreased from every 3 months to every 6, 9, or 12 months with respect to clinical outcomes. Because effects of different monitoring strategies could take years to materialize, longer follow-up is needed to fully evaluate this question.
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    Author List

  • Caniglia EC; Sabin C; Robins JM; Logan R; Cain LE; Abgrall S; Mugavero MJ; Hernandez-DIaz S; Meyer L; Seng R
  • Start Page

  • 214
  • End Page

  • 221
  • Volume

  • 72
  • Issue

  • 2