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Title: Daily aciclovir for HIV-1 disease progression in people dually infected with HIV-1 and herpes simplex virus type 2: a randomised placebo-controlled trial
Authors: Lingappa, Jairam R.
Baeten, Jared M.
Wald, Anna
Hughes, James P.
Thomas, Katherine K.
Mujugira, Andrew
Mugo, Nelly
Bukusi, Elizabeth A.
Cohen, Craig R.
Katabira, Elly
Ronald, Allan
Kiarie, James
Farquhar, Carey
Stewart, Grace John
Makhema, Joseph
Essex, Myron
Were, Edwin
Fife, Kenneth H.
Bruyn, Guy de
Gray, Glenda E.
Keywords: HIV-1 disease progression
HIV-1 discordant couples
Genital herpes
Herpes suppression
Randomized clinical trial
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Background Most people infected with HIV-1 are dually infected with herpes simplex virus type 2. Daily suppression of this herpes virus reduces plasma HIV-1 concentrations, but whether it delays HIV-1 disease progression is unknown. We investigated the effect of aciclovir on HIV-1 progression. Methods In a trial with 14 sites in southern Africa and east Africa, 3381 heterosexual people who were dually infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 and HIV-1 were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to aciclovir 400 mg orally twice daily or placebo, and were followed up for up to 24 months. Eligible participants had CD4 cell counts of 250 cells per μL or higher and were not taking antiretroviral therapy. We used block randomisation, and patients and investigators were masked to treatment allocation. Effect of aciclovir on HIV-1 disease progression was defined by a primary composite endpoint of first occurrence of CD4 cell counts of fewer than 200 cells per μL, antiretroviral therapy initiation, or non-trauma related death. As an exploratory analysis, we assessed the endpoint of CD4 falling to <350 cells per μL. Analysis was by intention to treat. The trial is registered with, number NCT00194519. Findings At enrolment, the median CD4 cell count was 462 cells per μL and median HIV-1 plasma RNA was 4·1 log10 copies per μL. Aciclovir reduced risk of HIV-1 disease progression by 16%; 284 participants assigned aciclovir versus 324 assigned placebo reached the primary endpoint (hazard ratio [HR] 0·84, 95% CI 0·71–0·98, p=0·03). In those with CD4 counts ≥350 cells per μL, aciclovir delayed risk of CD4 cell counts falling to <350 cells per μL by 19% (0·81, 0·71–0·93, p=0·002) Interpretation The role of suppression of herpes simplex virus type 2 in reduction of HIV-1 disease progression before initiation of antiretroviral therapy warrants consideration. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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