Table 4

Monitoring in HIV infection: summary points

Mandatory testsUses
HAART, highly active antiretroviral therapy.
CD4 countsPredict immediate risk of opportunistic infection and indicate use of prophylaxis
The quality of results is dependent on technology: “single platform” 3/4 colour machines are best
Require interpretation in the light of clinical and physiological context and the use of HAART
Three samples at baseline
Repeat 6 monthly (asymptomatic) or 3 monthly (symptomatic)
Viral loadPredicts the long term risk of disease progression and indicates the use of HAART
Repeated every 3–6 months regardless of clinical state
Also done 3–4 weeks after starting HAART
High sensitivity methods required for HAART monitoring
State of the art testing
Assays of immunoreconsitutionNew assays are required for monitoring immune improvement on HAART
Viral resistence testingCurrent data support the use of this technology in some settings