This study evaluates the change in CD4+ T cell counts among patients who achieved complete viral suppression and subsequently discontinued highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). We included 72 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected patients with plasma HIV RNA loads of <500 copies/mL for at least 3 months who then discontinued therapy for at least 12 weeks. The median CD4+ T decay while off HAART was 16 cells/mm3/month (interquartile range, -6 to -34 cells/month). The mean follow-up after therapy ended was 45 weeks. The slope of the CD4+ T cell decay was inversely correlated with the increase of CD4+ T cells while receiving HAART, baseline virus load, CD4+ T cell count at the time therapy was discontinued, age, and duration HIV RNA levels were undetectable. In a multiple regression analysis model, the increase of CD4+ T cells while receiving therapy and age were independently associated with the rate of CD4+ T cell loss.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support: National Institutes of Health (NIH; grants AI25903 and AI01612); SmithKline Beecham Development Partners Junior Faculty Award (to P.T.); NIH (grant T32 AI07172-21 to K.M.); California AIDS Research Center (grant CC99-SF-001 to S.D.); and General Clinical Research Center at San Francisco General Hospital (grant 5-MO1-RR00083-37 to S.D.).