Background: Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I variation influences the progression of untreated human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease; however, it is not known whether HLA class I variation may influence clinical outcomes after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
Methods: Associations between HLA class I genotypes and pretherapy clinical parameters were investigated in a cohort of 765 antiretroviral-naive adults initiating HAART. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to investigate the effects of HLA class I genotypes on time to suppression of the viral load to <500 HIV RNA copies/mL, time to an increase in the CD4 cell count to >100 cells/mm(3) above the baseline count, and time to nonaccidental death over a >5-year period after initiation of HAART.
Results: Homozygosity at any HLA class I locus and possession of common HLA alleles were associated with a higher pretherapy viral load (P<.05). In multivariate analyses controlling for sociodemographic and clinical parameters at baseline, HLA class I homozygosity was significantly associated with a poorer CD4 cell response (P=.008), whereas possession of uncommon HLA alleles was associated with slower virologic suppression after initiation of HAART (P=.02). We observed no significant association between HLA parameters and time to nonaccidental death after initiation of HAART (P>.05, univariate analysis).
Conclusion: HLA class I zygosity-dependent and frequency-dependent effects may influence short-term HAART outcomes, and, thus, they deserve further investigation. No effects of these HLA parameters on survival after initiation of HAART were observed.