Natural history of HIV infection in former plasma donors in rural China.Front Med China. 2010 Sep; 4(3):346-50.FM
Patients infected through commercial blood-selling practices (former plasma donors, FPDs) in China represent a unique patient population compared to individuals infected through sexual contact or intravenous drug use. FPDs all have an approximate time of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection during the mid-1990s. Few studies about the natural history of HIV infection in these patients were performed. The current study focuses on characterizing the duration of asymptomatic infection as well as the time to disease and mortality of infected FPDs in China. A retrospective cohort study was conducted based on data collected from 5484 HIV-1 infected FPDs in Shangcai county, Henan province. Kaplan-Meier analysis was applied to estimate the asymptomatic duration from the time of infection to the onset of AIDS as well as the survival period from the onset of AIDS to the time of death. The estimated median asymptomatic phase was about 9.21 years, which is similar to that reported in other developing countries in Africa. The estimated median life span after the onset of symptoms was about 9.91 months, which is notably shorter than life spans reported elsewhere. This is the first large-scale retrospective study on the natural history of HIV infection in FPDs in rural China. The findings not only provide valuable insight into an understudied population, but should also serve as an important reference for patient management and care.