Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia has been shown to be an independent risk factor for increased mortality among HIV-infected individuals in the developing world. While CMV infection is nearly ubiquitous in resource-poor settings, few data are available on the role of subclinical CMV reactivation on HIV.
Methods: Using a cohort of mineworkers with stored plasma samples, we investigated the association between CMV DNA concentration and mortality prior to antiretroviral therapy availability.
Results: Among 1341 individuals (median CD4 count 345 cells/µl, 70% WHO stage 1 or 2, median follow-up 0.9 years), 70 (5.2%) had CMV viremia at baseline; 71 deaths occurred. In univariable analysis CMV viremia at baseline was associated with a three-fold increase in mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 3.37; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.60, 7.10). After adjustment for CD4 count, WHO stage and HIV viral load (N = 429 with complete data), the association was attenuated (HR 2.27; 95%CI 0.88, 5.83). Mortality increased with higher CMV viremia (≥1,000 copies/ml vs. no viremia, adjusted HR 3.65, 95%CI: 1.29, 10.41). Results were similar using time-updated CMV viremia.
Conclusions: High copy number, subclinical CMV viremia was an independent risk factor for mortality among male HIV-infected adults in South Africa with relatively early HIV disease. Studies to determine whether anti-CMV therapy to mitigate high copy number viremia would increase lifespan are warranted.
Fielding, K.L.; Koba, A.; Grant, A.D.; Charalambous, S.; Day, J.; Spak, C.; Wald, A.; Huang, M.L.; Corey, L.; Churchyard, G.J. Cytomegalovirus Viremia as a Risk Factor for Mortality Prior to Antiretroviral Therapy among HIV-Infected Gold Miners in South Africa. PLoS ONE (2011) 6 (10) e25571. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025571]