Accuracy of WHO CD4 cell count criteria for virological failure of antiretroviral therapy

Keiser, Olivia; MacPhail, Patrick; Boulle, Andrew; Wood, Robin; Schechter, Mauro; Dabis, François; Sprinz, Eduardo; Egger, Matthias (2009). Accuracy of WHO CD4 cell count criteria for virological failure of antiretroviral therapy. Tropical medicine and international health TM&IH, 14(10), pp. 1220-5. Oxford: Blackwell Science 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02338.x

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OBJECTIVES: To examine the accuracy of the World Health Organization immunological criteria for virological failure of antiretroviral treatment. METHODS: Analysis of 10 treatment programmes in Africa and South America that monitor both CD4 cell counts and HIV-1 viral load. Adult patients with at least two CD4 counts and viral load measurements between month 6 and 18 after starting a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based regimen were included. WHO immunological criteria include CD4 counts persistently <100 cells/microl, a fall below the baseline CD4 count, or a fall of >50% from the peak value. Virological failure was defined as two measurements > or =10 0000 copies/ml (higher threshold) or > or =500 copies/ml (lower threshold). Measures of accuracy with exact binomial 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated. RESULTS: A total of 2009 patients were included. During 1856 person-years of follow up 63 patients met the immunological criteria and 35 patients (higher threshold) and 95 patients (lower threshold) met the virological criteria. Sensitivity [95% confidence interval (CI)] was 17.1% (6.6-33.6%) for the higher and 12.6% (6.7-21.0%) for the lower threshold. Corresponding results for specificity were 97.1% (96.3-97.8%) and 97.3% (96.5-98.0%), for positive predictive value 9.5% (3.6-19.6%) and 19.0% (10.2-30.9%) and for negative predictive value 98.5% (97.9-99.0%) and 95.7% (94.7-96.6%). CONCLUSIONS: The positive predictive value of the WHO immunological criteria for virological failure of antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings is poor, but the negative predictive value is high. Immunological criteria are more appropriate for ruling out than for ruling in virological failure in resource-limited settings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Keiser, Olivia and Egger, Matthias






Blackwell Science




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:09

Last Modified:

25 Jun 2015 10:00

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URI: (FactScience: 191530)

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