Virologic failure is uncommon after treatment initiation during acute HIV infection

RV254/SEARCH010 Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: In chronic HIV infection, initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) typically induces swift HIV RNA declines and virologic suppression within 24 weeks. The objective of this study was to investigate viral dynamics and common criteria for treatment success after ART initiation during acute HIV infection (AHI). Methods: Participants were prospectively enrolled and offered ART during AHI from May 2009-June 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. Regimens included tenofovir, lamivudine or emtricitabine, and efavirenz with or without raltegravir and maraviroc. Participants were monitored for several HIV RNA end points: one-log reduction at week 2; two-log reduction at week 4; less than 1000 copies/ml at week 24; and less than 200 copies/ml at week 24. Factors associated with each end point, time to suppression, and virologic blips were explored. Results: Two hundred and sixty-four Thai participants initiated ART during AHI. Their median age was 27 years and 96% were men. At 2 weeks, 6.5% had not achieved a one-log reduction in HIV RNA. At 4 weeks, 11.0% had not achieved a two-log reduction. At 24 weeks, 1.1% had not achieved HIV RNA less than 1000 copies/ml and 1.5% had not achieved HIV RNA less than 200 copies/ml. Participants who initiated ART during Fiebig I demonstrated a shorter median time to virologic suppression than did all other stages combined, [4 (interquartile range 2-8) vs. 8 (interquartile range 4-12) weeks, P<0.001] and 7.3% had subsequent blips (16.1% in other stages, P=0.23). Conclusion: Virologic failure is uncommon in individuals who initiate ART during AHI. ART initiation during AHI is efficacious and clinicians can monitor for virologic failure after 24 weeks of therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1943-1950
Number of pages8
Issue number12
StatePublished - 31 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • HIV
  • acute HIV
  • highly active antiretroviral therapy
  • viral load
  • virologic failure


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