Ageing and long-term CD4 cell count trends in HIV-positive patients with 5 years or more combination antiretroviral therapy experience

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Journal Article
HIV Medicine, 2013, 14 (4), pp. 208 - 216
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Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the long-term changes in CD4 cell counts beyond 5 years of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). If natural ageing leads to a long-term decline in the immune system via low-grade chronic immune activation/inflammation, then one might expect to see a greater or earlier decline in CD4 counts in older HIV-positive patients with increasing duration of cART. Methods: Retrospective and prospective data were examined from long-term virologically stable HIV-positive adults from the Australian HIV Observational Database. We estimated mean CD4 cell count changes following the completion of 5 years of cART using linear mixed models. Results: A total of 37916 CD4 measurements were observed for 892 patients over a combined total of 9753 patient-years. Older patients (>50 years old) at cART initiation had estimated mean (95% confidence interval) changes in CD4 counts by year-5 CD4 count strata (<500, 500-750 and >750 cells/μL) of 14 (7 to 21), 3 (-5 to 11) and -6 (-17 to 4) cells/μL/year. Of the CD4 cell count rates of change estimated, none were indicative of long-term declines in CD4 cell counts. Conclusions: Our results suggest that duration of cART and increasing age do not result in decreasing mean changes in CD4 cell counts for long-term virologically suppressed patients, indicating that the level of immune recovery achieved during the first 5 years of treatment is sustained through long-term cART. © 2012 British HIV Association.
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