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J Int AIDS Soc. 2012 Oct 15;15(2):17701. doi: 10.7448/IAS.15.2.17701.

Low prevalence of transmitted K65R and other tenofovir resistance mutations across different HIV-1 subtypes: implications for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States.



Tenofovir-containing regimens have demonstrated potential efficacy as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in preventing HIV-1 infection. Transmitted drug resistance mutations associated with tenofovir, specifically the reverse transcriptase (RT) mutation K65R, may impact the effectiveness of PrEP. The worldwide prevalence of transmitted tenofovir resistance in different HIV-1 subtypes is unknown.


Sequences from treatment-naïve studies and databases were aggregated and analyzed by Stanford Database tools and as per the International AIDS Society (IAS-USA) resistance criteria. RT sequences were collected from GenBank, the Stanford HIV Sequence Database and the Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. Sequences underwent rigorous quality control measures. Tenofovir-associated resistance mutations included K65R, K70E, T69-insertion and ≥3 thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs), inclusive of M41L or L210W.


A total of 19,823 sequences were evaluated across diverse HIV-1 subtypes (Subtype A: 1549 sequences, B: 9783, C: 3198, D: 483, F: 372, G: 594, H: 41, J: 69, K: 239, CRF01_AE: 1797 and CRF02_AG: 1698). Overall, tenofovir resistance prevalence was 0.4% (n=77/19,823, 95% confidence interval or CI: 0.3 to 0.5). K65R was found in 20 sequences (0.1%, 95% CI: 0.06 to 0.15). Differences in the prevalence of K65R between HIV-1 subtypes were not statistically significant. K70E and ≥3 TAMs were found in 0.015% (95% CI: 0.004 to 0.04) and 0.27% (95% CI: 0.2 to 0.4) of sequences, respectively.


Prevalence of transmitted K65R and other tenofovir resistance mutations across diverse HIV-1 subtypes and recombinants is low, suggesting minimal effect on tenofovir-containing PrEP regimens.

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