Although many researchers have recommended initiation of aggressive antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible after HIV infection occurs, the tolerability and efficacy of this approach has not been systemically evaluated. Many features of primary HIV pathogenesis are incompletely understood. A more complete understanding of immune dynamics and viral pathogenesis during primary HIV infection is critical to determine optimal treatment intervention strategies. This study will evaluate the outcomes of potent antiretroviral therapy initiated at different stages of primary HIV infection.
Thirty-six of the study patients are coenrolled to ACTG 371 or another treatment protocol. All study drug treatment and toxicity management is performed according to guidelines in these treatment protocols. An untreated cohort of 12 patients is also followed on this study. Patients are stratified at enrollment according to their stage of acute or early HIV infection. Patients are evaluated for virologic, immunologic, and clinical parameters for 96 weeks. In addition, novel studies of source partner identification are proposed. An effort is made to determine the most likely source partner(s) for each study patient on the basis of patient recall of possible exposures. A separate study protocol will evaluate the source partner.