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We therefore performed a nested case-control study, to assess the patterns of plasma VL over time among rapid progressors and nonprogressors from the time of seroconversion within a cohort study of HIV-1 infection in male and female IDUs.
The nested case-control design enabled identification of rapid and nonrapid progressors, in whom trends in VL could then be determined from previously collected specimens.
After considering 3 correlation structures for the repeated data, the spatial correlation structure was considered most appropriate and was used for the analysis by patient status and sex.
A separate random effect of within-class correlation for the case set, to account for the matched-pair design, was assessed and did not contribute to the inferences.
Cross-sectional studies have demonstrated lower plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA virus levels (VLs) in women than in men, but it is unknown whether this sex difference is present at the time of seroconversion and throughout the course of infection.
Information on demographics, injection drug use, sexual practices, medical history, and use of medications (including antiretroviral therapy for HIV-seropositive participants) was obtained semiannually.Plasma human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) RNA virus level (VL) after acute HIV-1 seroconversion is an independent predictor of progression to AIDS in men [1–5].The risk of progression to AIDS, according to VL, has been shown among homosexual men [6, 7], hemophiliacs , and injection drug users (IDUs) .Trained nurses abstracted medical records by use of standard forms, and an end-points committee led by a physician established final diagnoses.AIDS-defining diagnoses were determined according to the 1993 CDC clinical case definition  (excluding CD4 cell count ), based upon the review of medical records and death certificates received through 30 June 1997.