Presentation to HIV care and antiretroviral therapy initiation and response in clinical practice from 2003 through 2013

Andrea M. Pallotta, Sana A. Pirzada, Rabin K. Shrestha, Belinda Yen-Lieberman, Leonard H. Calabrese, Alan J. Taege, Robert S. Butler, Ume L. Abbas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Universal HIV screening and treatment initiation of HIV-positive persons are well-established standards. However, late presentation to care is a barrier to early antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prevention of HIV transmission. We sought to determine the immunodeficiency at presentation to care and characterize the initiation and response to ART among HIV-positive persons over 2003–2013 in our urban HIV clinical practice at the Cleveland Clinic. Using a retrospective cohort study design, we assessed the CD4 cell count of HIV-positive patients at entry into care for each year and evaluated the trend over time. For patients who initiated treatment, we assessed the pretreatment CD4 cell count, consistency of timing and regimen with US treatment guidelines, and HIV RNA level at one-year and last follow-up visits. Regression analyses were used to determine predictors of study outcomes. We found that the cohort (N = 452) median CD4 cell count at presentation to care was 297 cells/mm3 (inter-quartile range: 104–479 cells/mm3), without any significant change over time (P = 0.62), and with 37% and 21% of presentations being late and advanced, respectively. Guideline-consistency (85%–100%) and regimen-consistency (41%–100%) were moderate to high and improved over time. Virologic suppression (<400 copies/ml) at one year and last follow-up was high (79% and 92%) and associated with regimen selection and durability. We conclude that CD4 cell count at first presentation to HIV care remained less than 350 cells/mm3 for 11 years in our clinical practice, despite advances in HIV testing and treatment guidelines. Early diagnosis and linkage to care and treatment are critical for ending the HIV epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-860
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • AIDS
  • antiretroviral therapy
  • HIV
  • treatment


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