Association of Residual Plasma Viremia and Intima-Media Thickness in Antiretroviral-Treated Patients with Controlled Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

Boyd, Anders; Meynard, Jean-Luc; Morand-Joubert, Laurence; Michon, Adrien; Boccara, Franck; Bastard, Jean-Philippe; Samri, Assia; Haddour, Nabila; Mallat, Ziad; Capeau, Jacqueline; Desvarieux, Moise; Girard, Pierre-Marie


While residual plasma viremia is commonly observed in HIV-infected patients undergoing antiretroviral treatment (ART), little is known about its subclinical consequences.


This cross-sectional study included 47 male, never-smoking, non-diabetic patients with ≥4 years of ART and controlled HIV-replication (HIV-viral load, VL <20 copies/mL for ≥1 year). Residual HIV-VL was measured using an ultrasensitive assay (quantification limit: 1 copy/ml). Patients were categorized as having detectable (D; 1-20 copies/mL, n = 14) or undetectable (UD; <1 copies/mL, n = 33) HIV-VL. Linear regression was used to model the difference in total carotid intima-media thickness [c-IMT, measures averaged across common carotid artery (cca), bifurcation, and internal carotid artery] and cca-IMT alone across detection groups. Multivariable models were constructed for each endpoint in a forward-stepwise approach.


No significant differences were observed between viremia groups with respect to median ART-duration (9.6 years, IQR = 6.8–10.9), nadir CD4+T-cell (208/mm3, IQR = 143–378), and CD4+T-cell count (555/mm3, IQR = 458–707). Median adjusted inflammatory markers tended to be higher in patients with D- than UD-viremia, with differences in IL-10 being significant (p = 0.03). After adjustment on age, systolic blood pressure, and insulin resistance, mean cca-IMT was significantly lower in patients with undetectable (0.668 mm±0.010) versus detectable viremia (0.727 mm±0.015, p = 0.002). Cca-IMT was also independently associated with age and insulin resistance. Mean adjusted total c-IMT was no different between viremia groups (p = 0.2), however there was large variability in bifurcation c-IMT measurements.


Higher cca-IMT was observed in patients with detectable, compared to undetectable, HIV-VL in never-smoking ART-controlled patients, suggesting that residual HIV viremia may be linked to atherosclerosis.


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July 27, 2016