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J Infect Dis. 2004 Dec 1;190(11):1947-56. Epub 2004 Oct 28.

Time to virological failure of 3 classes of antiretrovirals after initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy: results from the EuroSIDA study group.

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  • 1Royal Free Centre for HIV Medicine and Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College London Medical Schools, London, United Kingdom.



The purpose of the present study was to determine the prevalence and incidence of virological triple drug-class failure (TCF) and to summarize the clinical outcome for patients who started receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).


The present study is an observational longitudinal study of 3496 treatment-experienced (TE) and treatment-naive (TN) patients monitored from the time they started receiving HAART (baseline) until TCF occurred (as determined on the basis of viral loads), until AIDS was newly diagnosed, or until death.


Four hundred forty-five patients (12.7%) had TCF; 370 (16.6%) of 2230 patients were TE, and 75 (5.9%) of 1266 patients were TN. At 6 years after starting HAART, 21.4% of TE and 11.2% of TN patients had TCF (P<.0001). The prevalence of TCF at or after 2002 was 15.5% in TE patients and 4.8% in TN patients. TN patients had a 32% annual increase in the incidence of TCF (95% confidence interval [CI], 14%-54%; P<.0001); at 5 years after starting HAART, the rate was comparable for TE and TN patients (3.3 and 3.4 cases/100 person-years of follow-up [PYFU], respectively). The incidence of new cases of AIDS or death was 2.7 cases/100 PYFU in patients who did not experience TCF and 5.0 cases/100 PYFU in patients who did experience TCF, an estimated 36% increase with each category of TCF (95% CI, 19%-56%; P<.0001).


The prevalence of TCF was low after patients started receiving HAART, particularly among TN patients. Despite the influx of patients who had started receiving HAART more recently, the prevalence of TCF increased over calendar time. Patients with TCF had a higher incidence of newly diagnosed AIDS or death. Treatment of patients with TCF deserves further investigation.

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