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Predicting virological decay in patients starting combination antiretroviral therapy: UK Collaborative HIV Cohort (CHIC) Study.
AIDS 2016; 30: 1817-1827.
The UK CHIC Study Steering Group.
Objective: Model trajectories of viral load measurements from time of starting combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), and use the model to predict whether patients will achieve suppressed viral load (≤200 copies/ml) within 6-months of starting cART. Design: Prospective cohort study including HIV-positive adults (UK Collaborative HIV Cohort Study). Methods: Eligible patients were antiretroviral naive and started cART after 1997. Random effects models were used to estimate viral load trends. Patients were randomly selected to form a validation dataset with those remaining used to fit the model. We evaluated predictions of suppression using indices of diagnostic test performance. Results: Of 9562 eligible patients 6435 were used to fit the model and 3127 for validation. Mean log10 viral load trajectories declined rapidly during the first 2 weeks post-cART, moderately between 2 weeks and 3 months, and more slowly thereafter. Higher pretreatment viral load predicted steeper declines, whereas older age, white ethnicity, and boosted protease inhibitor/non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors based cART-regimen predicted a steeper decline from 3 months onwards. Specificity of predictions and the diagnostic odds ratio substantially improved when predictions were based on viral load measurements up to the 4-month visit compared with the 2 or 3-month visits. Diagnostic performance improved when suppression was defined by two consecutive suppressed viral loads compared with one. Conclusions: Viral load measurements can be used to predict if a patient will be suppressed by 6-month post-cART. Graphical presentations of this information could help clinicians decide the optimum time to switch treatment regimen during the first months of cART.