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Association between HIV genotype, viral load and disease progression in a cohort of Thai men who have sex with men with estimated dates of HIV infection

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    PLoS One
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    Background Differences between HIV genotypes may affect HIV disease progression. We examined infecting HIV genotypes and their association with disease progression in a cohort of men who have sex with men with incident HIV infection in Bangkok, Thailand. Methods We characterized the viral genotype of 189 new HIV infections among MSM identified between 2006–2014 using hybridization and sequencing. Plasma viral load (PVL) was determined by PCR, and CD4+ T-cell counts were measured by flow cytometry. We used Generalized Estimating Equations to examine factors associated with changes in CD4+ T-cell counts. Factors associated with immunologic failure were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models. Results Among 189 MSM, 84% were infected with CRF01_AE, 11% with recombinant B/CRF01_AE and 5% with subtype B. CD4+ T-cell decline rates were 68, 65, and 46 cells/μL/year for CRF01_AE, recombinants, and subtype B, respectively, and were not significantly different between HIV subtypes. CD4+ T-cell decline rate was significantly associated with baseline PVL and CD4+ T-cell counts (p <0.001). Progression to immunologic failure was associated with baseline CD4+ T-cell ≤ 500 cells/μL (AHR 1.97; 95% CI 1.14–3.40, p = 0.015) and PVL > 50,000 copies/ml (AHR 2.03; 1.14–3.63, p = 0.017). There was no difference in time to immunologic failure between HIV subtypes. Conclusion Among HIV-infected Thai MSM, low baseline CD4+ T-cell and high PVL are associated with rapid progression. In this cohort, no significant difference in CD4+ T-cell decline rate or time to immunologic failure was seen between CRF01_AE and other infecting HIV subtypes.
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