Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 162–171 | Cite as

Serious Non-AIDS Conditions in HIV: Benefit of Early ART

  • Jens D. Lundgren
  • Alvaro H. Borges
  • James D. Neaton
Co-infections and Comorbidity (S Naggie, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Co-infections and Comorbidity


Purpose of review

Optimal control of HIV can be achieved by early diagnosis followed by the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Two large randomised trials (TEMPRANO and START) have recently been published documenting the clinical benefits to HIV-positive adults of early ART initiation. Main findings are reviewed with a focus on serious non-AIDS (SNA) conditions.

Recent findings

Data from the two trials demonstrated that initiating ART early in the course of HIV infection resulted in marked reductions in the risk of opportunistic diseases and invasive bacterial infections. This indicates that HIV causes immune impairment in early infection that is remedied by controlling viral replication. Intriguingly, in START, a marked reduction in risk of cancers, both infection-related and unrelated types of cancers, was observed. Like the findings for opportunistic infections, this anti-cancer effect of early ART shows how the immune system influences important pro-oncogenic processes. In START, there was also some evidence suggesting that early ART initiation preserved kidney function, although the clinical consequence of this remains unclear. Conversely, while no adverse effects were evident, the trials did not demonstrate a clear effect on metabolic-related disease outcomes, pulmonary disease, or neurocognitive function.


HIV causes immune impairment soon after acquisition of infection. ART reverses this harm at least partially. The biological nature of the immune impairment needs further elucidation, as well as mechanisms and clinical impact of innate immune activation. Based on the findings from TEMPRANO and START, and because ART lowers the risk of onward transmission, ART initiation should be offered to all persons following their diagnosis of HIV.


Serious non-AIDS events HIV Antiretroviral therapy Inflammation 



The authors would like to thank the INSIGHT (International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials), its leadership including Drs. F Gordin, A Babiker, A Phillips, J Baker and B Grund, and main funder division of AIDS, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation [grant 126].

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Alvaro H Borges is supported by Lundbeckfonden (grant R219-2016-762). James D. Neaton reports grants from NIH and NIAID. Jens D. Lundgren declares no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens D. Lundgren
    • 1
  • Alvaro H. Borges
    • 1
  • James D. Neaton
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre of Excellence for Health, Immunity and Infections (CHIP), Department of Infectious Diseases, RigshospitaletUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagen ØDenmark
  2. 2.Division of Biostatistics, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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