Emergence of Acquired HIV-1 Drug Resistance Almost Stopped in Switzerland: A 15-Year Prospective Cohort Analysis

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Background. Drug resistance is a major barrier to successful antiretroviral treatment (ART). Therefore, it is important to monitor time trends at a population level.

Methods. We included 11 084 ART-experienced patients from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS) between 1999 and 2013. The SHCS is highly representative and includes 72% of patients receiving ART in Switzerland. Drug resistance was defined as the presence of ≥1 major mutation in a genotypic resistance test. To estimate the prevalence of drug resistance, data for patients with no resistance test was imputed based on the patient's risk of harboring drug-resistant viruses.

Results. The emergence of new drug resistance mutations declined dramatically from 401 to 23 patients between 1999 and 2013. The upper estimated prevalence limit of drug resistance among ART-experienced patients decreased from 57.0% in 1999 to 37.1% in 2013. The prevalence of 3-class resistance decreased from 9.0% to 4.4% and was always <0.4% for patients who initiated ART after 2006. Most patients actively participating in the SHCS in 2013 with drug-resistant viruses initiated ART before 1999 (59.8%). Nevertheless, in 2013, 94.5% of patients who initiated ART before 1999 had good remaining treatment options based on Stanford algorithm.

Conclusions. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 drug resistance among ART-experienced patients in Switzerland is a well-controlled relic from the era before combination ART. Emergence of drug resistance can be virtually stopped with new potent therapies and close monitoring.

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