Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Course of HIV-I infection in a cohort of homosexual and bisexual men: an 11 year follow up study.

British Medical Journal 1990; 301 doi: (Published 24 November 1990) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1990;301:1183
  1. G W Rutherford,
  2. A R Lifson,
  3. N A Hessol,
  4. W W Darrow,
  5. P M O'Malley,
  6. S P Buchbinder,
  7. J L Barnhart,
  8. T W Bodecker,
  9. L Cannon,
  10. L S Doll
  1. Department of Public Health, City and County of San Francisco, California 94102.


    OBJECTIVE--To characterise the natural history of sexually transmitted HIV-I infection in homosexual and bisexual men. DESIGN--Cohort study. SETTING--San Francisco municipal sexually transmitted disease clinic. PATIENTS--Cohort included 6705 homosexual and bisexual men originally recruited from 1978 to 1980 for studies of sexually transmitted hepatitis B. This analysis is of 489 cohort members who were either HIV-I seropositive on entry into the cohort (n = 312) or seroconverted during the study period and had less than or equal to 24 months between the dates of their last seronegative and first seropositive specimens (n = 177). A subset of 442 of these men was examined in 1988 or 1989 or had been reported to have developed AIDS. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Development of clinical signs and symptoms of HIV-I infection, including AIDS, AIDS related complex, asymptomatic generalised lymphadenopathy, and no signs or symptoms of infection. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Of the 422 men examined in 1988 or 1989 or reported as having AIDS, 341 had been infected from 1977 to 1980; 49% (167) of these men had died of AIDS, 10% (34) were alive with AIDS, 19% (65) had AIDS related complex, 3% (10) had asymptomatic generalised lymphadenopathy, and 19% (34) had no clinical signs or symptoms of HIV-I infection. Cumulative risk of AIDS by duration of HIV-I infection was analysed for all 489 men by the Kaplan-Meier method. Of these 489 men, 226 (46%) had been diagnosed as having AIDS. We estimated that 13% of cohort members will have developed AIDS within five years of seroconversion, 51% within 10 years, and 54% within 11.1 years. CONCLUSION--Our analysis confirming the importance of duration of infection to clinical state and the high risk of AIDS after infection underscores the importance of continuing efforts both to prevent transmission of HIV-I and to develop further treatments to slow or stall the progression of HIV-I infection to AIDS.