Background: The extent to which the prognosis for AIDS and death of patients initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) continues to be affected by their characteristics at the time of initiation (baseline) is unclear. Methods: We analyzed data on 20,379 treatment-naive HIV-1- infected adults who started HAART in 1 of 12 cohort studies in Europe and North America (61,798 person-years of follow-up, 1844 AIDS events, and 1005 deaths). Results: Although baseline CD4 cell count became less prognostic with time, individuals with a baseline CD4 count <25 cells/μL had persistently higher progression rates than individuals with a baseline CD4 count >350 cells/μL (hazard ratio for AIDS = 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0 to 2.3; mortality hazard ratio = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.2 to 5.5, 4 to 6 years after starting HAART). Rates of AIDS were persistently higher in individuals who had experienced an AIDS event before starting HAART. Individuals with presumed transmission by means of injection drug use experienced substantially higher rates of AIDS and death than other individuals throughout follow-up (AIDS hazard ratio = 1.6, 95% CI: 0.8 to 3.0; mortality hazard ratio = 3.5, 95% CI: 2.2 to 5.5, 4 to 6 years after starting HAART). Conclusions: Compared with other patient groups, injection drug users and patients with advanced immunodeficiency at baseline experience substantially increased rates of AIDS and death up to 6 years after starting HAART.
- CD4 counts
- Highly active antiretroviral therapy
- Substance abuse (intravenous)