Results showed that the rate of participants who successfully achieved undetectable viral loads after changing drug regimens due to treatment failure increased from 20 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2008. In addition, the researchers found that 49 percent of participants who experienced initial treatment failure in 2008 still had undetectable viral loads in 2009, compared to 17 percent of participants in 2001 who experienced initial treatment failure in 2000.
The researchers also found that men who have sex with men were more likely to respond to treatment than heterosexual men and women or injection drug users. In addition, participants with lower viral loads and higher CD4 (white blood cell) counts at the time of treatment failure were more likely to successfully achieve undetectable viral loads after changing regimens, as were participants who were monitored in later calendar years during the study.
Results also showed that there were half as many AIDS-defining illnesses among participants in 2008 to 2009 as in 2000 to 2002. The death rate also dropped by half, but the difference was not considered significant.
Injection drug users, participants younger than 30 or older than 50, and people who had an AIDS-defining illness were most likely to die during the study.
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