AIDS onset at high CD4+ cell levels is associated with high HIV load

Karen A. Hennessey, Janis V. Giorgi, Andrew H. Kaplan, Barbara R. Visscher, Stephen Gange, Joseph B. Margolick, Sharon Riddler, John Phair, Roger Detels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


To identify factors associated with development of AIDS at high CD4+ cell levels a nested case-control study using data from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) was conducted. HIV-1-infected men who developed AIDS with ≥300/mm3 CD4+ cells (AIDS men) were compared to men who had ≥300/mm3 of CD4+ cells, but remained AIDS free for at least 2 years. The AIDS men had higher plasma HIV-1 RNA levels (mean 105.02 vs. 104.42, p < 0.01) and neopterin levels (mean 18.3 vs. 11.5 units/ml, p < 0.05) before the AIDS diagnosis than did the AIDS-free men. A significantly higher proportion of the AIDS men reported genital herpes within the year prior to their initial AIDS diagnosis than did the AIDS-free men (21.9 vs. 4.4%,p < 0.05). The higher viral load at relatively high CD4+ cell levels in men who subsequently developed AIDS within 6 months supports the hypothesis that elevated levels of HIV precede CD4+ decline and are the major factor in determining risk of AIDS even at high levels of CD4+ cell levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-107
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology
  • Immunology


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