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Volume 44, Number 3, June 2011

Clinical manifestations of treatment-naive patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and responses to highly active antiretroviral therapy in the Taipei Veterans General Hospital: A 5-year prospective study

Shih-Fen Hsu, Su-Pen Yang, Yu-Jiun Chan, Yung-Wei Wang

Received: July 16, 2009    Revised: May 6, 2010    Accepted: July 6, 2010   


Corresponding author:

 Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, 201, Shih-Pai Road, Section II, Taipei 11217, Taiwan.
E-mail address: (S.-P. Yang).


Background and purpose: 

Taipei Veterans General Hospital, one of the medical centers in Taiwan, has provided highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to human immunodeficiency virus/AIDS patients for more than 10 years. Five years ago, we began a prospective follow-up of our patients’ clinical manifestations and responses to HAART by collecting their clinical data. In this study, we analyzed the morbidity, mortality, and responses to HAART of treatment-naive AIDS patients. The purpose was to provide local data that may be valuable in Taiwan.



Study cases were enrolled from January 1, 2004, to February 28, 2009, with inclusion criteria of newly diagnosed AIDS during hospitalization and being naive to HAART. Antiretroviral therapy was initiated. To evaluate the clinical responses to HAART, we excluded patients who were pregnant, died within 1 month after confirmation of an AIDS diagnosis, failed to initiate HAART, or were lost to follow-up for more than 6 months. Plasma viral loads and CD4+ counts were quantified by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and flow cytometry, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS statistical software.



A total of 49 patients were enrolled and 45 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria for evaluating the efficacy of HAART. At 3 months, 12 months, and 30 months after the initiation of HAART, 64.4% (29 of 45), 88.2% (30 of 34), and 93.8% (15 of 16) had undetectable plasma viral loads, respectively, and 37.8% (17 of 45), 73.5% (25 of 34), and 81.2% (13 of 16) had CD4+ counts of more than 200cells/μL, respectively. Median CD4+ counts increased from baseline at Month 3 by 171cells/μL and at Month 30 by 375cells/μL. The overall mortality was 22.4% (11 of 49).



The virologic and immunologic responses after initiating HAART in this study demonstrated our achievements in providing care and treatment for AIDS patients during this 5-year period, which provides a strong evidence of the efficacy of HAART.


Key words:

AIDS, Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), Opportunistic infection