The trial compared structured interruption of cART to continuous therapy and made three important observations. Avasimibe research buy First, the differential effects of treatment between the two arms were not fully captured by changes
in CD4 cell count or HIV RNA. Secondly, it was found that there were more than twice as many ‘non-AIDS’ events as ‘AIDS’ events and only 8% of the deaths were caused by AIDS conditions . Thirdly, rates of cardiovascular, renal and liver disease and grade IV treatment toxicities were higher in the treatment interruption arm. A combined review of HIV cohort and SMART data  demonstrated: (1) that morbidity and mortality among those on cART are dominated by non-AIDS rather than AIDS events; (2) there find more is a strong positive association between non-AIDS deaths and both low CD4 cell counts and high HIV RNA; and (3) the association with immunodeficiency is consistent across several types of non-AIDS events including liver disease, renal disease and non-AIDS malignancy. The authors concluded that ‘We need to adapt our research priorities to better understand the full role of HIV in causing a wide range of clinical diseases. … Clinicians caring for patients with HIV need to … become aware of the best means to try to prevent and to monitor for early signs of these [non-AIDS] outcomes. This goal would be facilitated
by an index old that combined HIV and ‘non-HIV’ biomarkers
associated with immunodeficiency and chronic viral inflammation. The most logical way to weight these factors is according to risk of all cause mortality because all cause mortality avoids assumptions regarding causality. Further, all cause mortality is the outcome of greatest importance to patients. Such an index could be used as a surrogate endpoint for clinical trials and as a guide to clinical therapy. While excellent weighted all cause mortality indices have been established in HIV infection [3,11–14], these have focused on HIV markers (CD4 cell count, HIV RNA and AIDS-defining conditions). They have largely omitted biomarkers of anaemia [15–18], liver disease [8,19–21], and renal disease [22,23] despite their documented association with both immunodeficiency and survival. In this study we used the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS), a sample of over 13 500 veterans initiating cART within the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (VA), to develop and initially validate the VACS Index, which combines HIV and ‘non-HIV’ biomarkers. The VACS includes the Virtual Cohort which has been described in detail elsewhere [24,25]. In brief, the Virtual Cohort consists of over 33 000 veterans with HIV infection treated within the national Veterans Affairs Healthcare System from 1997 to the present.