CD4+ T-cell Count Useful to Assess Antiretroviral Therapy Response in HTLV-1/HIV Patients

<p>The authors compared the CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV-1 RNA viral loads of 383 patients who were either mono-infected with HIV or co-infected with HTLV-1/HIV. They confirmed that co-infected patients were more likely to have higher CD4+ T-cell counts prior to treatment initiation with no immunologic benefit--a result that has been well documented in scholarly literature. Any differences in the CD4+ T-cell counts were expected to disappear once the co-infected and mono-infected patients began to fail their antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens.</p> <p>Instead, the authors found that HTLV-1/HIVco-infected patients continued to have elevated CD4+ T-cell counts, on average 115 cells/&mu;L higher than their HIV mono-infected counterparts, over the two-year study period. But when the authors compared the HIV viral loads over the same period, they could not find any statistically significant difference between the two groups of patients. </p> <p>HIV viral load testing is currently recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an accurate strategy for monitoring a patient's response to ART. Nevertheless, CD4+ T-cell testing is often used in resource-limited settings because it is perceived to be more affordable. The continued use of CD4+ T-cell testing has implications for the clinical management of HIV-positive patients. Results from the present study suggest that HTLV-1/HIV co-infection could delay the identification of patients who are failing ART with adverse consequences.</p> <p>Against this background, recent scientific research has begun to show that HIV viral load testing can be both an accurate and cost-effective treatment monitoring strategy. The present study was based in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and used patient data from a poor and rural community at the epicenter of the global HIV epidemic.</p> <p>Source: Bentham Science Publishers </p>
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