The PACTG 381 cohort included 120 adolescents infected via high-risk behaviors and treated with at least two NRTIs plus either a protease inhibitor or an efavirenz-containing HAART regimen. After 24 weeks of therapy, only 69 of 118 (59%) evaluable subjects had undetectable viral loads. We now present findings of the study after 3 years of follow-up. Virologic, immunologic, and treatment information were collected from subjects every 12 weeks beyond the first 24 weeks of therapy through 156 weeks. Of the 120 subjects starting HAART, 44 (37%) stayed on study treatment for the 3 years of observation. Twenty-nine (24%) subjects reached and maintained undetectable viral loads. Poorer adherence (p = 0.016), higher baseline viral load (p = 0.010), and CD8 naive counts (p = 0.034) predicted virologic failure. Immunologic measurements improved from entry to the end of follow-up in the subjects with undetectable viral loads. CD4 counts at the end of study were not significantly different from HIV-uninfected youth, but CD4%, CD8 counts and percent, and CD8 activation markers remained significantly different. Adolescents infected with HIV via high-risk behaviors have less than optimal responses to HAART therapy with only 24% achieving and maintaining undetectable viral loads over 3 years. Immunologic improvement was demonstrated and CD4 counts in subjects with virologic control reached levels in HIV-uninfected adolescents. Interventions, especially those focused on adherence, are necessary to improve HAART outcomes in adolescents.
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