The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on HIV viral load of plasma and intraocular fluids in AIDS patients with ophthalmic opportunistic infections. We further compared the treatment effect of HAART on these patients. From June 1997 to July 2003, we examined and followed up the ophthalmic conditions of 49 patients receiving HAART with ophthalmic diseases during this period. The method of reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was used to detect and monitor HIV load in plasma and/or aqueous humor of AIDS patients. Before HAART, the HIV levels in the plasma and aqueous humor in 8 AIDS patients with ophthalmic opportunistic infections were significantly higher than those in 6 patients with HIV-related retinopathy (p < 0.05). Compared to the eye findings and clinical improvement, HIV loads of aqueous humor in 10 of 14 AIDS patients (6 with HIV-related retinopathy, 5 with cytomegalovirus retinitis, 2 with toxoplasmic retinitis and 1 with cryptococcal chorioretinitis) declined to undetectable levels (<400 copies/ml) after 4-8 months of HAART. HIV virus levels in the plasma of AIDS patients were significantly decreased, and the CD4 counts of these patients were significantly increased (Wilcoxon test) after initiation of HAART.
- Highly active antiretroviral therapy
- Ophthalmic infections
- Reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems