Relationship between aids latency period and aids survival time in homosexual and bisexual men

Nancy A. Hessol, Robert H. Byers, Alan R. Lifson, Paul M. O'malley, Lyn Cannon, J. Lowell Barnhart, Janet S. Harrison, George W. Rutherford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We identified 277 homosexual and bisexual men diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) whose estimated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) seroconversion dates, ranging from 1977-85, could be well approximated. These men were from a cohort of 6, 705 homosexual and bisexual men originally recruited for studies of sexually transmitted hepatitis B in San Francisco in 1978-80. We compared the time from HIV seroconversion to the initial disease diagnostic of AIDS (AIDS latency period) with the time from first AIDS diagnosis to death (AIDS survival time) and found no significant overall correlation between latency period and survival time. Both Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazard stepwise analyses found the initial AIDS diagnosis to be significantly associated with latency period, with individuals first diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) having a shorter latency but longer survival than those first diagnosed with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) or other AIDS diagnoses. Individuals with KS tended to be diagnosed earlier in the epidemic compared to those with PCP and other non-KS diagnoses. The AIDS survival time was significantly associated with the initial AIDS diagnosis but not with the estimated year of seroconversion, the year of first AIDS diagnosis, age at seroconversion, or racial/ethnic group. The information presented here on the relationship between the AIDS latency period and survival times suggests a model for the pathogenesis of HIV infection in which there is continual deterioration of the immune system. The wider use of antiviral and prophylactic therapies both preceding and following a diagnosis of AIDS may change this model as both latency and survival times are improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1085
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1990


  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Survival
  • Viral latency


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