The purpose of this study is to find out if anti-HIV drugs, taken by patients who are newly
infected with HIV, can make the level of HIV in the body too low to detect.
Studying patients who recently have been infected with HIV may help researchers understand
how HIV infection works and how anti-HIV drugs may help these patients. Approved anti-HIV
drugs can reduce the amount of HIV, but more research needs to be done in newly infected
patients. This study will look at recently HIV-infected patients to study the progression of
HIV disease and to see whether anti-HIV drugs can reduce the level of HIV.
Primary and early HIV infection represents a potentially unique opportunity to better
understand the pathogenesis of HIV infection, as well as to potentially prevent the
establishment of latent infection. Approved antiretroviral therapy is able to reduce plasma
viremia to unmeasurable levels in established infection and several groups have observed
comparable effects in recently infected adults. This study is designed to evaluate and
follow a cohort of patients with primary or early HIV infection and to evaluate the time
course of latent infection and whether latent infection in CD4 cells will allow viral
persistence despite antiretroviral therapy.
Patients begin antiretroviral therapy within 7 days of enrollment. All patients are
evaluated for treatment compliance and complete a compliance questionnaire regularly.
Clinical evaluations, including CD4, CD8, and HIV RNA counts also are done regularly.
Antiretroviral therapy is discontinued if there is no detectable virus by ultrasensitive
assay and culture techniques in plasma, PBMCs, and lymphoid tissue. In a subset of patients,
genital secretions and CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) are evaluated. If relapse occurs,
antiretroviral therapy is re-instituted. In addition, virology and immunology substudies are
Patients may be eligible for this study if they:
- Have had certain tests indicating that they recently have been infected with HIV.
- Agree to use effective methods of birth control during the study and for 3 months
- Are at least 18 years old.
Patients will not be eligible for this study if they:
- Have taken anti-HIV drugs.
- Take erythropoietin, G-CSF or GM-CSF within 30 days of study entry.
- Take interferons, interleukins, cytotoxic chemotherapy, or HIV vaccines within 30
days of study entry.
- Take medications that should not be taken with their prescribed anti-HIV drugs.
- Have had radiation treatment within 30 days of study entry.
- Are pregnant or breast-feeding.