Mullins Molecular Retrovirology Lab

  • Department of Microbiology
  • School of Medicine
  • University of Washington
University of Washington/Fred Hutch Center for AIDS Research

Citation Information

Melvin AJ, Rodrigo AG, Mohan KM, Lewis PA, Manns-Arcuino L, Coombs RW, Mullins JI, Frenkel LM (1999). HIV-1 dynamics in children. Journal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes and human retrovirology : official publication of the International Retrovirology Association, 20(5), 468-73. (pubmed)


HIV-1-infected children have higher plasma viral loads and progress to disease more quickly than infected adults. To gain insight into the accelerated pathogenesis of HIV-1 in children, viral dynamics were measured following the initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and compared with those reported for adults. A biphasic decline in plasma HIV-1 RNA was observed, with a rapid decrease during the first 1 to 2 weeks of therapy (phase I) followed by a slower decline (phase II). The phase I and II decay rates were not significantly different among children of different ages, pretherapy plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, or CD4 cell counts. Estimated phase I decay rates were similar to those previously reported in adults with a mean of 0.43 days(-1) and a half-life of 1.6 days. The phase II decay rates were slower in children compared with adults with a mean of 0.016 days(-1) versus 0.066 days(-1), and a half-life of 43.3 versus 14.1 days, respectively (p < .05). The mean time required to reach viral levels below detection thresholds was also longer in these children compared with that in adults. These data suggest that HIV-1 dynamics may be different in children, and that these differences may necessitate different treatment strategies.