Objective: To evaluate the decay rate of cellular proviral HIV-DNA and viral replication in patients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the very early phase of infection. Methods: Thirty-four patients treated with HAART and retrospectively selected for progressive decline of plasma viraemia up to undetectable levels (<20 copies/ml), were stratified according to CD4+ cell count and plasma viraemia at base line: > 500 x 106 cells/l with <5000 copies/ml (group 1) or with > 5000 copies/ml (group 2), > 5000 copies/ml with 300-500 x 106 cells/l (group 3) or with <300 x 106 cells/l (group 4). Plasma HIV-RNA and proviral HIV-DNA were analysed at baseline and after 1, 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of treatment. Results: After 1 year of treatment, a significant decrease of proviral DNA titre was observed in all patients and a decrease > 1 log was achieved in 24 of 29 subjects of the first three groups. The more pronounced decay of HIV-DNA (half-life 28 weeks) up to <50 HIV-DNA copies/106 CD4+ cells was detected in patients of group 1. At the year's endpoint, five patients (four in group 1 and one in group 2) had <20 HIV-DNA copies. However, HIV strains sensitive to antiretroviral drugs were isolated from peripheral lymphocytes of 16 out of 34 patients. Conclusion: In patients with undetectable plasma viraemia after 1 year of HAART, the highest reduction of proviral DNA up to <50 copies/106 CD4+ cells was obtained only in subjects in the early asymptomatic phase of infection. Nevertheless, a replication-competent virus can be detected in all phases of antiretroviral therapy. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Early treatment of HIV-infection
- Highly active antiretroviral therapy
- HIV isolation
- Proviral HIV-DNA
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy