- Continue a prospective collection of clinical, laboratory and therapeutic data on a large cohort of unselected HIV infected patients from all parts of Europe. This to monitor the pattern of HIV-associated illnesses and prognosis among these patients on an European level.
-Introduce determinations of the HIV viral load in serum as a prognostic marker in this cohort and assess its use in patient monitoring (compared with clinical presentation and CD4 count).
- Collect plasma for subsequent analyses of other soluble markers which may serve as prognostic markers of specific markers of certain types of HIV-associated diseases.
The EuroSIDA study will be able to give an up-to-date assessment of the overall impact of the interventions that patients infected with HIV are offered on a European level. A total of more than 7500 unselected patients from 48 clinical centres in 18 European countries will be subjected to long-term follow-up, of whom 4500 are currently followed as of January 1997 as part of the EuroSIDA 1994-1997 study. New patients will be recruited periodically, to ensure that the study will give-up-to-date information on the clinical presentation and outcome of European patients infected with HIV. The EuroSIDA 1997-2000 study will initiate the determination of HIV RNA load in plasma. This will serve as a valuable additional prognostic marker, based on results now emerging from small patient-sample studies. Furthermore, we will be able to assess to what extend the HIV load can be used in patient monitoring. Results of HIV RNA load determinations and several thousand plasma samples will be collected. The plasma will also be used to assess other prognostic markers which may become available, in addition to study the epidemiology of HIV subtypes and of the development of genotypic antiretroviral resistance patterns. The organisation of the data collection and the collaboration between the centres involved in the EuroSIDA 1994-1997 study have been successful, with the collection of high quality data and a low loss-to-follow-up rate.
Europe is the ideal place to perform long-term cohort studies because of a well organised infrastructure and good follow-up of the patients. Thus, the EuroSIDA study will most likely be the largest global cohort study of unselected patients with the collection of detailed data related to the HIV infection and long-term follow-up .