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Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Sep 1;65(5):796-802. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix428.

Patterns of Transmitted Drug Resistance and Virological Response to First-line Antiretroviral Treatment Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected People Who Use Illicit Drugs in a Canadian Setting.

Author information

British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, St Paul's Hospital, Vancouver.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby.
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



Transmitted drug resistance (TDR) may compromise response to antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, there are limited data on TDR patterns and impacts among people who use illicit drugs (PWUD).


Data were drawn from 2 prospective cohorts of PWUD in Vancouver, Canada. We characterized patterns of TDR among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected PWUD, and assessed its impacts on first-line ART virological outcomes.


Between 1996 and 2015, among 573 ART-naive PWUD (18% with recent HIV infection), the overall TDR prevalence was 9.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.3%-12.2%), with an increasing trend over time, from 8.5% in 1996-1999 to 21.1% in 2010-2015 (P = .003), mainly driven by resistance to nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). TDR-associated mutations were more common for NNRTIs (5.4%), followed by nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (3.0%) and protease inhibitors (1.9%). TDR prevalence was lower among recently infected PWUD (adjusted odds ratio, 0.39 [95% CI, .15-.87]). Participants with TDR had higher risk of virological failure than those without TDR (log-rank P = .037) in the first year of ART.


Between 1996 and 2015, TDR prevalence increased significantly among PWUD in Vancouver. Higher risk of virological failure among PWUD with TDR may be explained by some inappropriate ART prescribing, as well as undetected minority resistant variants in participants with chronic HIV infection. Our findings support baseline resistance testing early in the course of HIV infection to guide ART selection among PWUD in our setting.


HIV; North America; antiretroviral treatment; people who use drugs; transmitted drug resistance

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