The effect of prior infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) on progression of HIV disease in a cohort of 111 men with haemophilia was studied after 13 years followup. The relative hazards associated with CMV positivity on progression to AIDS, death and a CD4 count of 0·05 × 109/1 were 2·28, 2·42 and 2·34, respectively. CMV seropositive patients were significantly older than the seronegative and this was controlled for by using a Cox proportional hazards model. The relative hazards for the three endpoints decreased to 1·89, 1·82 and 1·93 respectively and were marginally non-significant (P = 0·05, 0·08 and 0·08 for the three endpoints respectively). We conclude that this cohort continues to show evidence of a ‘co-factor’ effect associated with prior infection with CMV which is confounded by age but not completely explained by age differences. The potential biological significance of these results is discussed in the context of recent controlled clinical trials which show a survival benefit from long-term high-dose acyclovir, a drug with activity in vivo against CMV and other herpesviruses.
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