HIV-infected persons continue to lose kidney function despite successful antiretroviral therapy

AIDS. 2009 Oct 23;23(16):2143-9. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3283313c91.


Objective: To identify risk factors associated with kidney function decline in a contemporary cohort of treated and untreated HIV-infected patients.

Methods: We followed individuals enrolled in the Study of the Consequences Of the Protease inhibitor Era cohort for longitudinal changes in kidney function, defined as glomerular filtration rate estimated from serum creatinine (eGFR). eGFR slope was calculated using linear mixed effects models adjusted for age, sex, race, and time-updated CD4 cell count, viral load, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and comorbid conditions.

Results: We followed 615 patients for a mean of 3.4 (+/- 2.5) years. In multivariable adjusted analyses, predictors of eGFR decline included female sex, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia; CD4 cell count and viral load were not associated with eGFR loss. Among patients who initiated treatment, antiretroviral exposure was associated with a +2.8 (95% confidence interval 0.8-4.7) ml/min per 1.73 m per year effect on eGFR slope. Although these patients appeared to benefit from ART based on the slowing of their eGFR decline, they continued to lose kidney function at a rate of -1.9 (95% confidence interval -3.7 to -0.1) ml/min per 1.73 m per year. In the subgroup of individuals receiving suppressive ART with viral loads maintained below 500 copies/ml, intermittent viremic episodes (blips) were strongly associated with more rapid rates of eGFR loss [-6.7 (95% confidence interval -11.1 to -2.4) ml/min per 1.73 m per year].

Conclusion: Although ART appears to help curb kidney function decline, patients who achieved durable viral suppression continue to manifest substantial loss of eGFR. Loss of kidney function may be attributable to treatment-related factors, intermittent viremia, and traditional risk factors for kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • California
  • Creatinine / blood*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia / virology


  • Creatinine