Dynamics of cell-free viral burden in HIV-1-infected patients

Nelson L. Michael*, George Chang, Jerome H. Kim, Deborah L. Birx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Whereas previous cross-sectional studies have shown a 1-2 log increase in cell-free HIV-1 RNA viral burden associated with disease progression, recent longitudinal studies reveal a less dynamic association. We addressed this conundrum in a cohort of 17 rapid and 20 slow progressors. Initial levels of serum viral RNA from the rapid progressors were I log unit higher than those from the slow progressors. Serum RNA increased by >0.5 log in 10 of the rapid progressors (increase group), but the remaining seven showed a <0.5 log increase (static group). Patients whose serum RNA increased had lower amounts of serum RNA at study entry but not at follow-up compared with the static group. There was a trend toward lower CD4 counts in the static group at follow-up. These data suggest that the timing of specimen evaluation can influence interpretation of vital RNA dynamics in HIV disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-242
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 1997


  • HIV-1
  • Serum RN
  • Viral burden


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