Background: It is important to examine progression to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or death and its predictors among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected persons before and after the introduction of the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) available in Japan since 1997. Methods: The data used were from a survey of persons with HIV infected through blood coagulation factor products in Japan. Progression to AIDS or death during two periods, between January 1994 and March 1997, and between April 1997 and March 2002, were observed. Results: The AIDS-free proportion after 3 years was 74% among 417 participants for the earlier period and 94% among 605 participants in the later one. The hazard ratio of low CD4 cell count (less than 200 cells/μL) was 50.8 for the earlier period and 4.7 for the later one compared with that of 500 cells/μL or more. After adjustment by plasma HIV RNA levels and use of antiretroviral therapy, the hazard ratios of the low CD4 cell count for the later period were still significant. Conclusion: The AIDS-free proportion among people with HIV infected through blood products in Japan largely increased after the introduction of HAART. The CD4 cell count remains an important predictor of future progression, but its importance might be less because of HAART.
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