This study aimed to define clinical and virological parameters associated with spontaneous control of HIV replication in patients having initiated HAART during primary HIV infection, who underwent structured therapy interruption by two protocols with either fixed or HIV viremia-guided scheme. At the end of the protocol all patients were changed to viremia-guided scheme and observed for 12 months (follow-up). Patients maintaining HIV viremia below the indications for resumption of HAART during the follow-up, were defined controllers, those who had to resume HAART were defined non-controllers. The following parameters were examined: pre-interruption therapy duration, CD4+, HIV RNA, proviral DNA, evolution of viral quasispecies. No specific advantage was conferred by either interruption of structured therapy in the proportion of controllers and non-controllers. Pre-HAART and zenith CD4+, pre-therapy interruption, HAART duration, but not pre-HAART HIV RNA, were significantly higher in controllers as compared to non-controllers. HIV RNA levels after the first interruption cycle of therapy were significantly lower in controllers than in non-controllers. Proviral DNA levels were also lower in controllers at this time point. HIV RNA and proviral DNA levels associated with the last interruption of therapy cycle were not different from those associated with the first cycle, and, in spite of multiple waves of virus rebound, very few gag quasispecies variants emerged in each patient. The data suggest that pre-treatment clinical parameters and virological events associated with the first viral rebound are crucial factors in determining the ability to control viral replication after multiple cycles of interruption of treatment.
- Genetic heterogeneity
- Structured therapy interruption
- Viral load
ASJC Scopus subject areas