The prevalence of viremia and its relationship to the pathogenesis of nephropathy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients with renal disease is unknown. To assess the prevalence of plasma viremia in HIV-infected patients with chronic renal disease, we performed a cohort study in two urban university medical centers.
Samples of blood from 11 HIV-infected patients with renal failure who were treated with hemodialysis were analyzed concurrently with control samples from three non—HIV-positive patients receiving hemodialysis treatment. Samples from four HIV-infected patients with chronic renal insufficiency were evaluated concurrently. Thirty-three HIV-infected patients with serum creatinine levels of less than 132 μmol/L (1.5 mg/dL), and trace or absent dipstick proteinuria served as controls for the population with renal disease. The patients infected with HIV were staged by CD4 cell counts and the presence of opportunistic infections. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma HIV p24 antigenemia by antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Blood samples were analyzed for the presence of viremia by infection of normal stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures with plasma samples and detection of HIV p24 antigen in culture supernatants.
Two of the 11 patients treated with hemodialysis had evidence of HIV p24 antigenemia, while seven of the 11 had evidence of plasma viremia. The proportion of hemodialysis patients with detectable antigenemia and viremia was similar to that in patients with chronic renal insufficiency. A significantly greater proportion of HIV-infected patients with renal disease had plasma viremia and antigenemia, compared with HIV-infected patients without renal disease. In logistic regression analysis, race, CD4 cell count (either on a continuous scale or dichotomized at 0.2×109/L), and treatment with zidovudine were not significantly associated with the presence of plasma viremia, but patient age and the presence of renal disease were factors independently associated with viremia.
The similar proportions of HIV-infected patients with viremia in groups of patients with chronic renal insufficiency and with renal disease treated with hemodialysis suggest that dialysis treatment does not increase the prevalence of plasma viremia in HIV-infected patients with renal disease. The similar proportions of HIV-infected hemodialyzed patients and patients with chronic renal insufficiency with plasma viremia, and the greater prevalence of viremia in patients with renal disease compared with HIV-infected patients without clinical renal disease suggest that plasma viremia and renal dysfunction are related. Whether this represents a cause and effect relationship is unknown. The greater prevalence of viremia in HIV-infected patients with renal disease has implications for the pathogenesis of HIV-related renal diseases and for caregivers in clinical settings and dialysis units.(Arch Intern Med. 1995;155:1578-1584)