• Vol. 29 No. 6, 708–713
  • 15 November 2000

Correlation of Baseline Quantitative Plasma Human Immunodeficiency (HIV) Type 1 RNA Viral Load with Clinical Status and CD4+ T-cell Counts in Treatment-Naïve HIV-Positive Patients in Singapore



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Introduction: Quantitative measurement of plasma HIV-1 RNA viral load has been available in Singapore since 30 November 1996. This study investigates the relationship, in antiretroviral-naïve, HIV-positive Singapore residents, between the baseline HIV-1 RNA viral load and clinical status at the time of quantification. The association of HIV-1 RNA viral load with CD4+ T-cell counts was also studied.

Materials and Methods: HIV-1 RNA viral load was determined using Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor Test. One hundred and eighty subjects had baseline plasma HIV-1 RNA levels quantified during the period 30 November 1996 to 27 July 1998. They were classified into three clinical groups: A for asymptomatic infection (n = 110), B for symptomatic infection (n = 29) and C for AIDS (n = 41).

Results: The differences between mean HIV-1 RNA levels were statistically significant (P <0.001) for groups A and B (mean difference = -0.61 log10), and for groups A and C (mean difference = -0.75 log10). However, there was no statistically significant difference (P = 0.68) between groups B and C (mean difference = -0.13 log10). Of those subjects with CD4+ T-cell counts measured within 30 days of viral load quantification, there were statistically significant negative correlations between HIV-1 viral load and CD4+ T-cell counts for groups A (n = 91, r = -0.536, P <0.01) and C (n = 34, r = -0.446, P <0.01) but not group B (n = 26, r = -0.297, P >0.05).

Conclusion: This suggest that the more advanced the phase of HIV infection, the higher the baseline plasma viral load and the lower the CD4+ T-lymphocyte counts.

Quantitative plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) ribonucleic acid (RNA) viral load is used clinically as a predictor of progression of HIV-1 infection to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and death, and as a marker of treatment response to anti-HIV agents. Higher viral load levels have been correlated with increased risk of clinical progression of HIV disease, and that reductions in plasma virus are associated with decreased risk of clinical progression.

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