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Clin Infect Dis. 2008 May 15;46(10):1589-97. doi: 10.1086/587109.

Prevalence of HIV-1 drug resistance after failure of a first highly active antiretroviral therapy regimen in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

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  • 1Section of Retroviral Therapeutics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02139, USA.



Emergence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) drug resistance may limit the benefits of antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. The prevalence of resistance was assessed among patients from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, following failure of their first highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimen.


Genotypic resistance testing was performed on plasma virus samples from patients who experienced virologic failure of their first HAART regimen at 2 clinics in KwaZulu Natal. Clinical and demographic data were obtained from medical records. Regression analysis was performed to determine factors associated with > or =1 significant drug resistance mutation.


From January 2005 through August 2006, a total of 124 antiretroviral-treated adults who experienced virologic failure were enrolled. The predominant subtype was HIV-1C. Virus samples from 83.5% of participants carried > or =1 significant drug resistance mutation. Dual-class drug-resistant virus was present in 64.3% of participants, and 2.6% had virus with triple-class drug resistance. The most common mutation was M184V/I (64.3% of patients); K103N was present in virus from 51.3%, and V106M was present in virus from 19.1%. Thymidine analog resistance mutations were found in virus from 32.2% of patients, and protease resistance mutations were found in virus from 4.4%.


Antiretroviral drug-resistant virus was detected in >80% of South African patients who experienced failure of a first HAART regimen. Patterns of drug resistance reflected drugs used in first-line regimens and viral subtype. Continued surveillance of resistance patterns is warranted to guide selection of second-line regimens.

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