Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) subtypes have been shown to differ in the rate of clinical progression. We studied the association between HIV-1 subtypes and the rate of CD4+ T-cell recovery in a longitudinal cohort of patients on combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). We studied 103 patients infected with CRF01_AE (69%) and subtype B (31%) who initiated cART between 2006 and 2013. Demographic data, CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV-1 viral load were abstracted from patient medical charts. Kaplan-Meier was used to estimate the time to CD4+ T-cell count increase to ≥350 between subtypes and effects of covariates were analysed using Cox proportional hazards. An 87% of the study population were male adults (mean age of 38.7 years old). Baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and viral loads, age at cART initiation, sex, ethnicity and co-infection did not differ significantly between subtypes. A shorter median time for CD4+ T-cell count increase to ≥350 cells/μL was observed for CRF01_AE (546 days; 95% confidence interval [CI], 186-906 days; P = .502) compared to subtype B (987 days; 95% CI, 894-1079 days). In multivariate analysis, female sex was significantly associated with a 2.7 times higher chance of achieving CD4+ T-cell recovery (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 2.75; 95% CI, 1.21-6.22; P = .025) and both baseline CD4+ T-cell count (P = .001) and viral load (P = .001) were important predictors for CD4+ T-cell recovery. Immunological recovery correlated significantly with female sex, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load but not subtype.
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