HIV-1 dynamics in children

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1999 Apr 15;20(5):468-73. doi: 10.1097/00042560-199904150-00009.


HIV-1-infected children have higher plasma viral loads and progress to disease more quickly than infected adults. To gain insight into the accelerated pathogenesis of HIV-1 in children, viral dynamics were measured following the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and compared with those reported for adults. A biphasic decline in plasma HIV-1 RNA was observed, with a rapid decrease during the first 1 to 2 weeks of therapy (phase I) followed by a slower decline (phase II). The phase I and II decay rates were not significantly different among children of different ages, pretherapy plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, or CD4 cell counts. Estimated phase I decay rates were similar to those previously reported in adults with a mean of 0.43 days(-1) and a half-life of 1.6 days. The phase II decay rates were slower in children compared with adults with a mean of 0.016 days(-1) versus 0.066 days(-1), and a half-life of 43.3 versus 14.1 days, respectively (p < .05). The mean time required to reach viral levels below detection thresholds was also longer in these children compared with that in adults. These data suggest that HIV-1 dynamics may be different in children, and that these differences may necessitate different treatment strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • RNA, Viral / blood


  • RNA, Viral