Purpose: To review reported inflammatory reactions occurring after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in persons infected with HIV-1 and to explore the mechanisms leading to these reactions.
Data sources: MEDLINE search of biomedical literature reporting inflammatory reactions after HAART. Bibliographies of retrieved reports were also reviewed.
Study selection: Articles describing patients infected with HIV-1 who had immunologic and virologic responses to HAART and subsequently developed inflammatory reactions.
Data extraction: Data on the immune status, clinical characteristics, and therapeutic management of patients who were seropositive for HIV-1 and had inflammatory reactions after HAART.
Data synthesis: Inflammatory reactions involving opportunistic infections, AIDS-associated malignant conditions, and other noninfectious diseases have recently been described in patients infected with HIV-1. These conditions often appeared shortly after the introduction of HAART and were associated with pronounced reductions in plasma HIV-1 viral load and increases in CD4(+) T-lymphocyte counts. Clinical presentation was often atypical of that in patients with untreated HIV-1 infection, probably because of restored immunity. Most cases improved despite continuation of HAART, although some patients required anti-inflammatory drugs or specific antimicrobial agents.
Conclusions: Clinicians caring for patients who are infected with HIV-1 and receiving HAART must be aware of this new and diverse clinical syndrome. As more HAART recipients are studied, new presentations will probably be observed.