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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate long-term renal function in HIV-infected adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) with a CD4(+) T-cell count < 200 cells/mm³ in Africa. METHODS: This was an observational analysis within the DART trial randomizing 3,316 adults to routine laboratory and clinical monitoring (LCM) or clinically driven monitoring (CDM). Serum creatinine was measured pre-ART (all ≤ 360 μmol/l), at weeks 4 and 12, then every 12 weeks for 4-5 years; estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was determined using the Cockcroft-Gault formula. We analysed eGFR changes, and cumulative incidences of eGFR< 30 ml/min/1.73 m² and chronic kidney disease (CKD; <60 ml/min/1.73 m² or 25% decrease if <60 ml/min/1.73 m² pre-ART; confirmed >3 months). RESULTS: At ART initiation, median CD4(+) T-cell count was 86 cells/mm³; 1,492 (45%) participants had mild (60-< 90 ml/min/1.73 m²), 237 (7%) moderate (30-<60 ml/min/1.73 m² and 7 (0.2%) severe (15-<30 ml/min/1.73 m²) decreases in eGFR. First-line ART was zidovudine/lamivudine plus tenofovir (74%), abacavir (9%) or nevirapine (17%). By 4 years, cumulative incidence of eGFR<30 ml/min/1.73 m² was 2.8% (n=90) and CKD was 5.0% (n=162). Adjusted eGFR increases to 4 years were 1, 9 and 6 ml/min/1.73 m² with tenofovir, abacavir and nevirapine, respectively (P<0.001), and 4 and 2 ml/min/1.73 m² for LCM and CDM, respectively (P=0.005; 2 and 3 ml/min/1.73 m² to 5 years; P=0.81). CONCLUSIONS: On all regimens and monitoring strategies, severe eGFR impairment was infrequent; differences in eGFR changes were small, suggesting that first-line ART, including tenofovir, can be given safely without routine renal function monitoring.

Original publication




Journal article


Antivir Ther

Publication Date





1011 - 1020


Adenine, Adult, Africa, Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active, CD4 Lymphocyte Count, Creatinine, Dideoxynucleosides, Female, Glomerular Filtration Rate, HIV Infections, Humans, Kidney Diseases, Kidney Glomerulus, Lamivudine, Male, Nevirapine, Organophosphonates, Risk Factors, Tenofovir, Time Factors, Zidovudine