Background: Early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), started within the first months of age, has been proven to be the optimal strategy to prevent immunological and clinical deterioration in perinatally HIV-infected children. Nevertheless, data about long-term follow-up of early treated children are lacking. Methods: We report data from 40 perinatally HIV-infected-children receiving early HAART, with a median follow-up period of 5.96 years (interquartile range [IQR]:4.21-7.62). Children were enrolled at birth in the Italian Register for HIV Infection in Children. Comparison with 91 infected children born in the same period, followed-up from birth, and receiving deferred treatment was also provided. Results: Nineteen children (47.5%) were still receiving their first HAART regimen at last follow-up. In the remaining children the first regimen was discontinued, after a median period of 3.77 years (IQR: 1.71-5.71) because of viral failure (8 cases), liver toxicity (1 case), structured therapy interruption (3 cases), or simplification/switch to a PI-sparing regimen (9 cases). Thirty-nine (97.5%) children showed CD4+ T-lymphocyte values >25%, and undetectable viral load was reached in 31 (77.5%) children at last visit. Early treated children displayed significantly lower viral load than not-early treated children, until 6 years of age, and higher median CD4+ T-lymphocyte percentages until 4 years of age. Twenty-seven (29.7%) not-early treated vs. 0/40 early treated children were in clinical category C at last follow-up (P <0.0001). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that clinical, virologic and immunological advantages from early-HAART are long-lasting. Recommendations indicating the long-term management of early treated children are needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases