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AIDS. 2004 Nov 5;18(16):2185-9.

Antiretroviral resistance and high-risk transmission behavior among HIV-positive patients in clinical care.

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AIDS Program, Section of Infectious Diseases, Yale University School of Medicine and VA Connecticut Healthcare System, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.



HIV-positive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) who engage in HIV transmission behaviors may harbor and transmit drug-resistant HIV. However, little is known about the risk behaviors of these patients, potential partners exposed and the relationship of these to ART resistance.


To determine the relationship of HIV drug resistance and continuing HIV transmission risk behavior among HIV-positive patients in care.


A retrospective, cross-sectional study of HIV transmission risk behavior and HIV drug resistance data from 333 HIV-positive patients.


Among a diverse population of 333 HIV-positive patients, 75 (23%) had unprotected sex during the previous 3-months, resulting in 1126 unprotected sexual events with 191 partners of whom 155 were believed by patients to be HIV-negative or of unknown status. Eighteen of the 75 (24%) had resistant HIV and 207 unprotected sexual events, exposing 18% of the HIV- or status unknown partners. There was no difference in the proportion of patients engaging in unprotected sex who had undetectable viral load (VL) (22%): VL > 400 copies/ml without resistance (20%) and VL > 400 copies/ml with resistance (26%). Resistance and risk behavior was predicted only by lower mental health scores (odds ratio, 10.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-18.6).


A substantial minority (23%) of patients in clinical care engaged in HIV sexual transmission risk behavior. A small subset of these also had ART-resistant HIV. However, this core group (approximately 5% of all patients) accounted for a large number of high-risk HIV transmission events with resistant virus, exposing a substantial number of partners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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