Control of the HIV-1 Load Varies by Viral Subtype in a Large Cohort of African Adults with Incident HIV-1 Infection

Academic Article


  • Few human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons can maintain low viral levels without therapeutic intervention. We evaluate predictors of spontaneous control of the viral load (hereafter, "viral control") in a prospective cohort of African adults shortly after HIV infection. Viral control was defined as ≥2 consecutively measured viral loads (VLs) of ≤10 000 copies/mL after the estimated date of infection, followed by at least 4 subsequent measurements for which the VL in at least 75% was ≤10 000 copies/mL in the absence of ART. Multivariable logistic regression characterized predictors of viral control. Of 590 eligible volunteers, 107 (18.1%) experienced viral control, of whom 25 (4.2%) maintained a VL of 51-2000 copies/mL, and 5 (0.8%) sustained a VL of ≤50 copies/mL. The median ART-free follow-up time was 3.3 years (range, 0.3-9.7 years). Factors independently associated with control were HIV-1 subtype A (reference, subtype C; adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.1 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.3-3.5]), female sex (reference, male sex; aOR, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.1-2.8]), and having HLA class I variant allele B∗57 (reference, not having this allele; aOR, 1.9 [95% CI, 1.0-3.6]) in a multivariable model that also controlled for age at the time of infection and baseline CD4+ T-cell count. We observed strong associations between infecting HIV-1 subtype, HLA type, and sex on viral control in this cohort. HIV-1 subtype is important to consider when testing and designing new therapeutic and prevention technologies, including vaccines.
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    Author List

  • Price MA; Rida W; Kilembe W; Karita E; Inambao M; Ruzagira E; Kamali A; Sanders EJ; Anzala O; Hunter E
  • Start Page

  • 432
  • End Page

  • 441
  • Volume

  • 220
  • Issue

  • 3