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Freiberg MS, Bebu I, Tracy R, So-Armah K, Okulicz J, Ganesan A, Armstrong A, O'Bryan T, Rimland D, Justice AC, Agan BK, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program HIV Working Group. D-Dimer Levels before HIV Seroconversion Remain Elevated Even after Viral Suppression and Are Associated with an Increased Risk of Non-AIDS Events. PLoS ONE. 2016 Apr 18; 11(4):e0152588.
The mechanism underlying the excess risk of non-AIDS diseases among HIV infected people is unclear. HIV associated inflammation/hypercoagulability likely plays a role. While antiretroviral therapy (ART) may return this process to pre-HIV levels, this has not been directly demonstrated. We analyzed data/specimens on 249 HIV+ participants from the US Military HIV Natural History Study, a prospective, multicenter observational cohort of > 5600 active duty military personnel and beneficiaries living with HIV. We used stored blood specimens to measure D-dimer and Interleukin-6 (IL-6) at three time points: pre-HIV seroconversion, = 6 months post-HIV seroconversion but prior to ART initiation, and = 6 months post-ART with documented HIV viral suppression on two successive evaluations. We evaluated the changes in biomarker levels between time points, and the association between these biomarker changes and future non-AIDS events. During a median follow-up of 3.7 years, there were 28 incident non-AIDS diseases. At ART initiation, the median CD4 count was 361cells/mm3; median duration of documented HIV infection 392 days; median time on ART was 354 days. Adjusted mean percent increase in D-dimer levels from pre-seroconversion to post-ART was 75.1% (95% confidence interval 24.6-148.0, p = 0.002). This increase in D-dimer was associated with a significant 22% increase risk of future non-AIDS events (p = 0.03). Changes in IL-6 levels across time points were small and not associated with future non-AIDS events. In conclusion, ART initiation and HIV viral suppression does not eliminate HIV associated elevation in D-dimer levels. This residual pathology is associated with an increased risk of future non-AIDS diseases.