Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032144. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

Virologic failure of protease inhibitor-based second-line antiretroviral therapy without resistance in a large HIV treatment program in South Africa.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.



We investigated the prevalence of wild-type virus (no major drug resistance) and drug resistance mutations at second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) failure in a large HIV treatment program in South Africa.


HIV-infected patients ≥ 15 years of age who had failed protease inhibitor (PI)-based second-line ART (2 consecutive HIV RNA tests >1000 copies/ml on lopinavir/ritonavir, didanosine, and zidovudine) were identified retrospectively. Patients with virologic failure were continued on second-line ART. Genotypic testing for drug resistance was performed on frozen plasma samples obtained closest to and after the date of laboratory confirmed second-line ART failure. Of 322 HIV-infected patients on second-line ART, 43 were adults with confirmed virologic failure, and 33 had available plasma for viral sequencing. HIV-1 RNA subtype C predominated (n = 32, 97%). Mean duration on ART (SD) prior to initiation of second-line ART was 23 (17) months, and time from second-line ART initiation to failure was 10 (9) months. Plasma samples were obtained 7(9) months from confirmed failure. At second-line failure, 22 patients (67%) had wild-type virus. There was no major resistance to PIs found. Eleven of 33 patients had a second plasma sample taken 8 (5.5) months after the first. Median HIV-1 RNA and the genotypic resistance profile were unchanged.


Most patients who failed second-line ART had wild-type virus. We did not observe evolution of resistance despite continuation of PI-based ART after failure. Interventions that successfully improve adherence could allow patients to continue to benefit from second-line ART therapy even after initial failure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center