(HealthDay News) — More than one-third of young HIV-infected adults with CD4 cell count >500 cells/µl became eligible for antiretroviral therapy (ART) at a CD4 cell count of <350 cells/µl over a median of two years, according to a study published online May 11 in HIV Medicine.

Nuala McGrath, Sc.D., from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, and colleagues determined the time to ART eligibility and examined factors associated with disease progression in adults with early HIV infection. Data were included for 206 adults, aged 18 years or older, with CD4 cell count >500 cells/µl, who contributed 381 years of follow-up. Participants were followed on a six-monthly basis and eligibility for ART was assessed using a CD4 cell count threshold of 350 cells/µl.

The researchers found that 38 percent of participants reached the ART eligibility threshold. The median time to ART eligibility was shorter for males than females (12.0 versus 33.9 months). Shorter time to ART eligibility was associated with male sex (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 3.13), residing in a household with food shortage in the previous year (aHR, 1.58), and taking nutritional supplements in the first six months after enrollment (aHR, 2.06).

“Our data would suggest that many individuals will become eligible within one or two visits in pre-ART care, especially if visits are less frequent than the recommended six months,” the authors write.

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