China recommended first-line HAART regimen as per the WHO guidelines. First-line HAART regimens before 2008 consisted of (zidovudine (AZT) or stavudine (D4T)) + (didanosine (DDI) or lamivudine (3TC)) + (nevirapine (NVP) or efavirenz (EFV)) [8, 9]. Zidovudine, stavudine, didanosine, and nevirapine are generically produced in China and were standard prescriptions since the start of the program in 2003, whereas lamivudine and efavirenz are branded drugs that became available in 2005 [19] and gradually became more commonly prescribed following preferential use in those with strong adverse reactions to the former standard regimens. The first-line ART regimen in the second edition National Free ART Guideline in 2008 was revised to consist of (tenofovir (TDF) or azidothymidine (AZT)) + lamivudine (3TC) + (efavirenz (EFV) or nevirapine (NVP)). The NFATP treatment criteria included CD4+ T cell counts less than 200 cells/μL from 2003 to 2008, CD4+ T cell counts less than 350 cells/μL from 2008 to 2012, and starting 2012, ART has been initiated irrespective of CD4+ T cell counts. According to the recent WHO guidelines, ART is recommended immediately for all HIV infected patients irrespective of CD4 cell count [20]. Before treatment initiation, PLHIV were given free education and counseling on the importance of ART and adherence. The initial treatment regimen and criteria could be associated with treatment effects [9].

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