Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Virally mediated destruction of HIV-specific CD4+ T-cells in primary HIV infection (PHI) may be abrogated by potent antiretroviral therapy (ART) started in acute infection. To best achieve the most rapid reduction in primary viraemia we compared three different ART regimens in PHI. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: A sequential, unblinded, non-randomized prospective cohort study. The primary endpoint was time to achieve plasma viral load (pVL) < 50 copies HIV RNA/ml. One hundred and five patients identified with PHI according to the definition: HIV antibody negative with positive HIV DNA (n = 22), HIV antibody positive with a documented negative test within the previous 6 months (n = 53), low-level incident 'detuned' assay (n = 10) or an evolving HIV-antibody test (n = 20) were recruited. Ninety of 105 individuals chose to take a short course of ART at PHI whereas 15 of 105 declined therapy. Seventy-nine of 90 were included for analysis and were allocated sequentially to either three (29 of 79) or four-drug (33 of 79) or protease inhibitor-containing ART (17 of 79). RESULTS: A mathematical model-based analysis of viral decay indicated significantly faster viral load decline in patients receiving the four-drug regimen (P = 0.01). This conclusion was supported by a non-significant on-treatment analysis of the time taken to reach pVL <50 copies HIV RNA/ml (P = 0.07) but not by the corresponding intend-to-treat analysis. This discordance was caused by greater toxicities associated with the four-drug regimen, although the differences were not significant. CONCLUSION: Of the three treatment regimens compared, the four-drug arm enhanced the rate of decline of primary viraemia but at the cost of toxicity.

Original publication




Journal article


AIDS (London, England)

Publication Date





247 - 252


Department of GUM & Communicable Diseases, Wright Fleming Institute, Jefferiss Trust Laboratories, London, UK.


Humans, HIV-1, Viremia, HIV Infections, RNA, Viral, HIV Protease Inhibitors, Anti-HIV Agents, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Treatment Outcome, Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active, Viral Load, Survival Analysis, Prospective Studies, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male