How reliable is an undetectable viral load?

Combescure, Christophe; Vallier, N; Ledergerber, B; Cavassini, M; Furrer, H; Rauch, A; Battegay, M; Bernasconi, E; Vernazza, P; Hirschel, B (2009). How reliable is an undetectable viral load? HIV medicine, 10(8), pp. 470-6. Oxford: Blackwell Science 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2009.00714.x

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OBJECTIVES: An article by the Swiss AIDS Commission states that patients with stably suppressed viraemia [i.e. several successive HIV-1 RNA plasma concentrations (viral loads, VL) below the limits of detection during 6 months or more of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)] are unlikely to be infectious. Questions then arise: how reliable is the undetectability of the VL, given the history of measures? What factors determine reliability? METHODS: We assessed the probability (henceforth termed reliability) that the n+1 VL would exceed 50 or 1000 HIV-1 RNA copies/mL when the nth one had been <50 copies/mL in 6168 patients of the Swiss HIV Cohort Study who were continuing to take HAART between 2003 and 2007. General estimating equations were used to analyse potential factors of reliability. RESULTS: With a cut-off at 50 copies/mL, reliability was 84.5% (n=1), increasing to 94.5% (n=5). Compliance, the current type of HAART and the first antiretroviral therapy (ART) received (HAART or not) were predictive factors of reliability. With a cut-off at 1000 copies/mL, reliability was 97.5% (n=1), increasing to 99.1% (n=4). Chart review revealed that patients had stopped their treatment, admitted to major problems with compliance or were taking non-HAART ART in 72.2% of these cases. Viral escape caused by resistance was found in 5.6%. No explanation was found in the charts of 22.2% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: After several successive VLs at <50 copies/mL, reliability reaches approximately 94% with a cut-off of 50 copies/mL and approximately 99% with a cut-off at 1000 copies/mL. Compliance is the most important factor predicting reliability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Infectiology

UniBE Contributor:

Furrer, Hansjakob and Rauch, Andri

ISSN:

1464-2662

Publisher:

Blackwell Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:14

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:23

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/j.1468-1293.2009.00714.x

PubMed ID:

19459990

Web of Science ID:

000268655600002

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/32454 (FactScience: 197662)

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