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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Analysis of the immunologic status of a newly diagnosed HIV positive population in China

Yinzhong Shen, Hongzhou Lu*, Zhenyan Wang, Tangkai Qi and Jiangrong Wang

Author Affiliations

Department of Infectious Diseases, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Fudan University, Shanghai 201508, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:429  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-429

Published: 11 September 2013



The immunologic status of a newly diagnosed HIV positive population in the era of antiretroviral therapy in China has not been extensively evaluated. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to evaluate the CD4 counts of newly diagnosed HIV-infected persons and determine the factors influencing these counts in China.


Two thousand eight hundred and sixty-six newly diagnosed HIV-infected patients from 10 provinces in China were selected during 2009 to 2010. Serum samples were collected to measure CD4 counts by flow cytometry. Demographics and medical histories were recorded. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to analyze factors associated with low CD4 count (<100 cells/mm3) at HIV diagnosis.


Among the 2866 patients, 2159 (75.33%) were male. Mean age was 40 years (range: 18–86 years). The median CD4 count at HIV diagnosis was 83 cells/mm3, 72.02% of the patients had a CD4 count that was ≤200 cells/mm3, 53.98% had CD4 counts <100 cells/mm3. The difference in CD4 counts between males and females was not statistically significant (P=0.469). The median CD4 count differed significantly according to age (P=0.002), province (P<0.001), ethnicity (P<0.001) and HIV transmission route (P<0.001). In multivariate logistic analysis, factors associated with greater odds of low CD4 count at HIV diagnosis included male sex, younger age, HIV transmission route classified as unknown transmission risk, having been diagnosed in provinces Guangxi, Henan, Heilongjiang, Jiangxi, Shanghai and Yunnan.


At the time of HIV diagnosis, a large proportion of HIV-infected patients in China had an initial CD4 count that was consistent with relatively advanced disease. Low CD4 count was associated with male gender, younger age, route of HIV transmission and geographical areas. HIV testing policy that promotes routine testing for HIV infection is needed to facilitate earlier HIV diagnosis.

Human immunodeficiency virus; CD4+T lymphocyte count; China