Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Recent updates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment guidelines have raised the CD4+ cell count thresholds for antiretroviral therapy initiation from 350 to 500 cells/mm(3) in the United States and from 200 to 350 cells/mm³ in mid- and low-income countries. Robust data of time from HIV seroconversion to CD4+ cell counts of 200, 350, and 500 cells/mm³ are lacking but are needed to inform health care planners of the likely impact and cost effectiveness of these and possible future changes in CD4+ cell count initiation threshold. METHODS: Using Concerted Action on Seroconversion to AIDS and Death in Europe data from individuals with well-estimated dates of HIV seroconversion, we fitted mixed models on the square root of CD4+ cell counts measured before combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation. Restricting analyses to adults (age >16 years), we predicted time between seroconversion and CD4+ cell count <200, <350, and <500 cells/mm³ as well as CD4+ cell count distribution and proportions reaching these thresholds at 1, 2, and 5 years after seroconversion. RESULTS: Median (interquartile range [IQR]) follow-up for the 18495 eligible individuals from seroconversion while cART-free was 3.7 years (1.5, 7). Most of the subjects were male (78%), had a median age at seroconversion of 30 years (IQR, 25-37 years), and were infected through sex between men (55%). Estimated median times (95% confidence interval [CI]) from seroconversion to CD4+ cell count <500, <350, and <200 cells/mm(3) were 1.19 (95% CI, 1.12-1.26), 4.19 (95% CI, 4.09-4.28), and 7.93 (95% CI, 7.76-8.09) years, respectively. Almost half of infected individuals would require treatment within 1 year of seroconversion for guidelines recommending its initiation at 500 cells/mm³, compared with 26% and 9% for guidelines recommending initiation at 350 and 200 cells/mm³, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest substantial increases in the number of individuals who require treatment and call for early HIV testing.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





817 - 825


Adult, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Cohort Studies, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Therapy, Combination, Early Diagnosis, Europe, Female, Follow-Up Studies, HIV Infections, HIV Seropositivity, HIV-1, Humans, Linear Models, Male, Middle Aged, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Risk Factors, Sexual Behavior, Time Factors, United States