Virologic suppression and CD4+ cell count recovery after initiation of raltegravir or efavirenz-containing HIV treatment regimens

AIDS. 2018 Jan 14;32(2):261-266. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001668.


Objective: To explore the effectiveness of raltegravir-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) on treatment response among ART-naive patients seeking routine clinical care.

Design: Cohort study of adults enrolled in HIV care in the United States.

Methods: We compared virologic suppression and CD4 cell count recovery over a 2.5 year period after initiation of an ART regimen containing raltegravir or efavirenz using observational data from a US clinical cohort, generalized to the US population of people with diagnosed HIV. We accounted for nonrandom treatment assignment, informative censoring, and nonrandom selection from the US target population using inverse probability weights.

Results: Of the 2843 patients included in the study, 2476 initiated the efavirenz-containing regimen and 367 initiated the raltegravir-containing regimen. In the weighted intent-to-treat analysis, patients spent an average of 74 (95% confidence interval: 41, 106) additional days alive with a suppressed viral load on the raltegravir regimen than on the efavirenz regimen over the 2.5-year study period. CD4 cell count recovery was also superior under the raltegravir regimen.

Conclusion: Patients receiving raltegravir spent more time alive and suppressed than patients receiving efavirenz, but the probability of viral suppression by 2.5 years after treatment was similar between groups. Optimizing the amount of time spent in a state of viral suppression is important to improve survival among people living with HIV and to reduce onward transmission.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alkynes
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / methods*
  • Benzoxazines / administration & dosage*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Raltegravir Potassium / administration & dosage*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Viral Load*
  • Young Adult


  • Alkynes
  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Benzoxazines
  • Cyclopropanes
  • Raltegravir Potassium
  • efavirenz