BACKGROUND: Information on the use of new antiretroviral drugs in children in the real setting of clinical fields is largaly unknown. METHODS: Data from 2554 combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) regimens administered to 911 children enrolled in the Italian Register for HIV infection in children, between 1996 and 2009, were nalysed. Factors potentially associated eith undetectable viral load and immunological response to cART were expored by Cox regression analysis. RESULTS: Proportion of protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimens significantly decreased from 88.0% to 51.2% and 54.9%, while proportion on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimens increased from 4.5% to 38.8% and 40.2% in 1996-1999, 2000-2004 and 2005-2009, respectively (p < 0.0001). Significant change in the use of each antiretroviral drug occurred over the time periods (p < 0.0001). Factors independently associated with virological and immunological success were as follows: later calendar periods, younger age at regimen (only for virological success) and higher CD4(+) T-lymphocyte percentage at baseline. Use of unboosted PI was associated with lower adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of virological or immunological success with respect to NNRTI- and boosted PI-based regimens, with no difference among these two latter types. CONCLUSIONS: Use of new generation antiretroviral drugs in Italian HIV-infected children is increasing. No different viro-immunological outcomes between NNRTI- and boosted PI-based cART were observed.
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