Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and Antiretroviral Resistance: HIV Prevention at a Cost?

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Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of antiretrovirals (ARVs) by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–uninfected individuals to prevent acquisition of the virus during high-risk sexual encounters, enjoyed its first 2 major successes with the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) 004 and the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEx). These successes were buoyed by additional positive results from the TDF2 and Partners PrEP trials. Although no seroconverters in either arm of CAPRISA developed resistance to tenofovir, 2 participants in iPrEx with undetected, seronegative acute HIV infection were randomized to receive daily oral tenofovir-emtricitabine and resistance to emtricitabine was later discovered in both men. A similar case in the TDF2 study resulted in resistance to both ARVs. These cases prompted us to examine existing literature on the nature of resistance mutations elicited by ARVs used for PrEP. Here, we discuss the impact of signature mutations selected by PrEP, how rapidly these emerge with daily ARV exposure, and the individual-level and public health consequences of ARV resistance.

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