METHODS: We used data from the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration of cohort studies in Europe and the USA. We included 55,826 individuals aged 18 years or older who were diagnosed with HIV-1 infection between January, 2000, and September, 2013, had not started ART, did not have AIDS, and had CD4 count and HIV-RNA viral load measurements within 6 months of HIV diagnosis. We estimated relative risks of death and of death or AIDS-defining illness, mean survival time, the proportion of individuals in need of ART, and the proportion of individuals with HIV-RNA viral load less than 50 copies per mL, as would have been recorded under each ART initiation strategy after 7 years of HIV diagnosis. We used the parametric g-formula to adjust for baseline and time-varying confounders.
FINDINGS: Median CD4 count at diagnosis of HIV infection was 376 cells per μL (IQR 222-551). Compared with immediate initiation, the estimated relative risk of death was 1·02 (95% CI 1·01-1·02) when ART was started at a CD4 count less than 500 cells per μL, and 1·06 (1·04-1·08) with initiation at a CD4 count less than 350 cells per μL. Corresponding estimates for death or AIDS-defining illness were 1·06 (1·06-1·07) and 1·20 (1·17-1·23), respectively. Compared with immediate initiation, the mean survival time at 7 years with a strategy of initiation at a CD4 count less than 500 cells per μL was 2 days shorter (95% CI 1-2) and at a CD4 count less than 350 cells per μL was 5 days shorter (4-6). 7 years after diagnosis of HIV, 100%, 98·7% (95% CI 98·6-98·7), and 92·6% (92·2-92·9) of individuals would have been in need of ART with immediate initiation, initiation at a CD4 count less than 500 cells per μL, and initiation at a CD4 count less than 350 cells per μL, respectively. Corresponding proportions of individuals with HIV-RNA viral load less than 50 copies per mL at 7 years were 87·3% (87·3-88·6), 87·4% (87·4-88·6), and 83·8% (83·6-84·9).
INTERPRETATION: The benefits of immediate initiation of ART, such as prolonged survival and AIDS-free survival and increased virological suppression, were small in this high-income setting with relatively low CD4 count at HIV diagnosis. The estimated beneficial effect on AIDS is less than in recently reported randomised trials. Increasing rates of HIV testing might be as important as a policy of early initiation of ART.
FUNDING: National Institutes of Health.
METHODS: The HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration consisted of 12 cohorts from the United States and Europe of HIV-positive, ART-naive, AIDS-free individuals aged ≥18 years with baseline CD4 cell count and HIV RNA levels followed up from 1996 through 2007. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for cART versus no cART, adjusted for time-varying CD4 cell count and HIV RNA level via inverse probability weighting.
RESULTS: Of 65 121 individuals, 712 developed tuberculosis over 28 months of median follow-up (incidence, 3.0 cases per 1000 person-years). The HR for tuberculosis for cART versus no cART was 0.56 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.44-0.72) overall, 1.04 (95% CI, 0.64-1.68) for individuals aged >50 years, and 1.46 (95% CI, 0.70-3.04) for people with a CD4 cell count of <50 cells/μL. Compared with people who had not started cART, HRs differed by time since cART initiation: 1.36 (95% CI, 0.98-1.89) for initiation <3 months ago and 0.44 (95% CI, 0.34-0.58) for initiation ≥3 months ago. Compared with people who had not initiated cART, HRs <3 months after cART initiation were 0.67 (95% CI, 0.38-1.18), 1.51 (95% CI, 0.98-2.31), and 3.20 (95% CI, 1.34-7.60) for people <35, 35-50, and >50 years old, respectively, and 2.30 (95% CI, 1.03-5.14) for people with a CD4 cell count of <50 cells/μL.
CONCLUSIONS: Tuberculosis incidence decreased after cART initiation but not among people >50 years old or with CD4 cell counts of <50 cells/μL. Despite an overall decrease in tuberculosis incidence, the increased rate during 3 months of ART suggests unmasking IRIS.
DESIGN: Prospective studies of HIV-infected individuals in Europe and the US included in the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration.
METHODS: Antiretroviral therapy-naive and AIDS-free individuals were followed from the time they started an NRTI, efavirenz or nevirapine, classified as following one or both types of regimens at baseline, and censored when they started an ineligible drug or at 6 months if their regimen was not yet complete. We estimated the 'intention-to-treat' effect for nevirapine versus efavirenz regimens on clinical, immunologic, and virologic outcomes. Our models included baseline covariates and adjusted for potential bias introduced by censoring via inverse probability weighting.
RESULTS: A total of 15 336 individuals initiated an efavirenz regimen (274 deaths, 774 AIDS-defining illnesses) and 8129 individuals initiated a nevirapine regimen (203 deaths, 441 AIDS-defining illnesses). The intention-to-treat hazard ratios [95% confidence interval (CI)] for nevirapine versus efavirenz regimens were 1.59 (1.27, 1.98) for death and 1.28 (1.09, 1.50) for AIDS-defining illness. Individuals on nevirapine regimens experienced a smaller 12-month increase in CD4 cell count by 11.49 cells/μl and were 52% more likely to have virologic failure at 12 months as those on efavirenz regimens.
CONCLUSIONS: Our intention-to-treat estimates are consistent with a lower mortality, a lower incidence of AIDS-defining illness, a larger 12-month increase in CD4 cell count, and a smaller risk of virologic failure at 12 months for efavirenz compared with nevirapine.
DESIGN: A collaboration of 12 prospective cohort studies from Europe and the United States (the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration) that includes 62 760 HIV-infected, therapy-naive individuals followed for an average of 3.3 years. Inverse probability weighting of marginal structural models was used to adjust for measured confounding by indication.
RESULTS: Two thousand and thirty-nine individuals died during the follow-up. The mortality hazard ratio was 0.48 (95% confidence interval 0.41-0.57) for cART initiation versus no initiation. In analyses stratified by CD4 cell count at baseline, the corresponding hazard ratios were 0.29 (0.22-0.37) for less than 100 cells/microl, 0.33 (0.25-0.44) for 100 to less than 200 cells/microl, 0.38 (0.28-0.52) for 200 to less than 350 cells/microl, 0.55 (0.41-0.74) for 350 to less than 500 cells/microl, and 0.77 (0.58-1.01) for 500 cells/microl or more. The estimated hazard ratio varied with years since initiation of cART from 0.57 (0.49-0.67) for less than 1 year since initiation to 0.21 (0.14-0.31) for 5 years or more (P value for trend <0.001).
CONCLUSION: We estimated that cART halved the average mortality rate in HIV-infected individuals. The mortality reduction was greater in those with worse prognosis at the start of follow-up.
METHODS: We compared these regimens with respect to clinical, immunologic, and virologic outcomes using data from prospective studies of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals in Europe and the United States in the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration, 2004-2013. Antiretroviral therapy-naive and AIDS-free individuals were followed from the time they started a lopinavir or an atazanavir regimen. We estimated the 'intention-to-treat' effect for atazanavir vs lopinavir regimens on each of the outcomes.
RESULTS: A total of 6668 individuals started a lopinavir regimen (213 deaths, 457 AIDS-defining illnesses or deaths), and 4301 individuals started an atazanavir regimen (83 deaths, 157 AIDS-defining illnesses or deaths). The adjusted intention-to-treat hazard ratios for atazanavir vs lopinavir regimens were 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], .53-.91) for death, 0.67 (95% CI, .55-.82) for AIDS-defining illness or death, and 0.91 (95% CI, .84-.99) for virologic failure at 12 months. The mean 12-month increase in CD4 count was 8.15 (95% CI, -.13 to 16.43) cells/µL higher in the atazanavir group. Estimates differed by NRTI backbone.
CONCLUSIONS: Our estimates are consistent with a lower mortality, a lower incidence of AIDS-defining illness, a greater 12-month increase in CD4 cell count, and a smaller risk of virologic failure at 12 months for atazanavir compared with lopinavir regimens.
OBJECTIVE: To identify the optimal CD4 cell count at which cART should be initiated.
DESIGN: Prospective observational data from the HIV-CAUSAL Collaboration and dynamic marginal structural models were used to compare cART initiation strategies for CD4 thresholds between 0.200 and 0.500 × 10(9) cells/L.
SETTING: HIV clinics in Europe and the Veterans Health Administration system in the United States.
PATIENTS: 20, 971 HIV-infected, therapy-naive persons with baseline CD4 cell counts at or above 0.500 × 10(9) cells/L and no previous AIDS-defining illnesses, of whom 8392 had a CD4 cell count that decreased into the range of 0.200 to 0.499 × 10(9) cells/L and were included in the analysis.
MEASUREMENTS: Hazard ratios and survival proportions for all-cause mortality and a combined end point of AIDS-defining illness or death.
RESULTS: Compared with initiating cART at the CD4 cell count threshold of 0.500 × 10(9) cells/L, the mortality hazard ratio was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.84 to 1.22) for the 0.350 threshold and 1.20 (CI, 0.97 to 1.48) for the 0.200 threshold. The corresponding hazard ratios were 1.38 (CI, 1.23 to 1.56) and 1.90 (CI, 1.67 to 2.15), respectively, for the combined end point of AIDS-defining illness or death.
LIMITATIONS: CD4 cell count at cART initiation was not randomized. Residual confounding may exist.
CONCLUSION: Initiation of cART at a threshold CD4 count of 0.500 × 10(9) cells/L increases AIDS-free survival. However, mortality did not vary substantially with the use of CD4 thresholds between 0.300 and 0.500 × 10(9) cells/L.