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Evaluation of WHO Criteria for Viral Failure in Patients on Antiretroviral Treatment in Resource-Limited Settings

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AIDS Research and Treatment
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Abstract

Our objective was to evaluate outcomes in patients with sustained viral suppression compared to those with episodes of viremia. Methods. In a prospective cohort of patients started on ART in Uganda and followed for 48 months, patients were categorized according to viral load (VL): (1) sustained-suppression: (VL ≤1,000 copies/mL) (2) VL 1,001–10,000, or (3) VL >10,000. Results. Fifty-Three (11.2%) and 84 (17.8%) patients had a first episode of intermediate and high viremia, respectively. Patients with sustained suppression had better CD4+ T cell count increases over time compared to viremic patients ( 𝑃 < . 0 0 1 ). The majority of patients with viremia achieved viral suppression when the measurement was repeated. Only 39.6% of patients with intermediate and 19.1% with high viremia eventually needed to be switched to second line ( 𝑃 = . 0 0 8 ). Conclusions. The use of at least one repeat measurement rather than a single VL measurement could avert from 60% to 80% of unnecessary switches.

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