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Six-Month Numbers Are Best Indicators for Prognosis

Six-Month Numbers Are Best Indicators for Prognosis


An HIV-positive person's CD4-cell count and viral load after six months of antiretroviral therapy, not baseline measurements, are the best indicators of how quickly the disease may progress, according to a study in the August 30 edition of The Lancet. Swiss researchers examined data from 13 studies of more than 9,300 HIV patients starting their first anti-HIV drug regimen. Patients with CD4-cell counts under 250 after six months of therapy were more likely to develop AIDS or die within 31/2 years of starting drug treatment, while those with CD4 counts over 350 were the least likely to experience disease progression. Viral loads over 100,000 also were linked with increased risk of AIDS or death during the 3.5-year window. Baseline CD4-cell counts and viral loads were poor indicators of long-term prognosis, according to the researchers.

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