Pretreatment and Acquired Antiretroviral Drug Resistance Among Persons Living With HIV in Four African Countries

for the AFRICOS Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background. Emerging HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) could jeopardize the success of standardized HIV management protocols in resource-limited settings. We characterized HIVDR among antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive and experienced participants in the African Cohort Study (AFRICOS). Methods. From January 2013 to April 2019, adults with HIV-1 RNA >1000 copies/mL underwent ART history review and HIVDR testing upon enrollment at 12 clinics in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. We calculated resistance scores for specific drugs and tallied major mutations to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), and protease inhibitors (PIs) using Stanford HIVDB 8.8 and SmartGene IDNS software. For ART-naive participants, World Health Organization surveillance drug resistance mutations (SDRMs) were noted. Results. HIVDR testing was performed on 972 participants with median age 35.7 (interquartile range [IQR] 29.7–42.7) years and median CD4 295 (IQR 148–478) cells/mm3. Among 801 ART-naive participants, the prevalence of SDRMs was 11.0%, NNRTI mutations 8.2%, NRTI mutations 4.7%, and PI mutations 0.4%. Among 171 viremic ART-experienced participants, NNRTI mutation prevalence was 83.6%, NRTI 67.8%, and PI 1.8%. There were 90 ART-experienced participants with resistance to both efavirenz and lamivudine, 33 (36.7%) of whom were still prescribed these drugs. There were 10 with resistance to both tenofovir and lamivudine, 8 (80.0%) of whom were prescribed these drugs. Conclusions. Participants on failing ART regimens had a high burden of HIVDR that potentially limited the efficacy of standardized first- and second-line regimens. Management strategies that emphasize adherence counseling while delaying ART switch may promote drug resistance and should be reconsidered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2311-E2322
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • drug resistance
  • public health surveillance


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