Survival trend of HIV/AIDS patients starting antiretroviral therapy in South Korea between 2001 and 2015

Yong Chan Kim, Jin Young Ahn, Hyo Youl Kim, Joon Young Song, Dae Won Park, Min Ja Kim, Hee Jung Choi, Shin Woo Kim, Mee Kyung Kee, Myung Guk Han, Myeongsu Yoo, Soo Min Kim, Yunsu Choi, Bo Youl Choi, Sang Il Kim, Jun Yong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: In the recent antiretroviral therapy (ART) era, a large proportion of Korean patients with human immunodeficiency vi-rus (HIV) infection were shown to have low CD4 cell counts at diagnosis and during ART initiation. We investigated the survival trends in patients living with HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Korea who started ART in the 2000s, and evaluated the risk factors for mortality to elucidate the association between survival and low CD4 cell counts at ART initiation. Materials and Methods: Patients with HIV infection who were aged >18 years and had started ART between 2001 and 2015 in the Korean HIV/AIDS cohort study were enrolled. We compared the clinical characteristics, mortality, and causes of death among the enrolled subjects based on the time of ART initiation. Cox regression analysis was used to estimate the adjusted hazard ratios of mortality based on the time of ART initiation. Results: Among the 2474 patients enrolled, 105 (4.24%) died during the follow-up period of 9568 patient-years. Although CD4 cell counts at the time of ART initiation significantly increased from 161 [interquartile range (IQR), 73.5–303] in 2001–2003 to 273 (IQR, 108–399) in 2013–2015 (p<0.001), they remained low during the study period. The incidence of all-cause mortality was 10.97 per 1000 patient-years during the study period. There was no decreasing trend in mortality between 2001 and 2015. Age >40 years [ad-justed hazard ratio, 3.71; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.35–5.84] and low CD4 counts (<100 cells/mm3: adjusted hazard ratio, 2.99; 95% CI, 1.44–6.23) were significant risk factors for mortality. Conclusion: Despite excellent HIV care available in the recent ART era, the survival of patients with HIV/AIDS undergoing ART did not improve between 2001 and 2015 in Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-711
Number of pages7
JournalYonsei Medical Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2020.


  • HIV
  • Republic of Korea
  • Survival
  • ‌Anti-retroviral agents


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