HIV drug resistance in infants increases with changing prevention of mother-to-child transmission regimens

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Objectives:The objectives of this study were to determine HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) prevalence in Zambian infants upon diagnosis, and to determine how changing prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) drug regimens affect drug resistance.Design:Dried blood spot (DBS) samples from infants in the Lusaka District of Zambia, obtained during routine diagnostic screening, were collected during four different years representing three different PMTCT drug treatment regimens.Methods:DNA extracted from dried blood spot samples was used to sequence a 1493 bp region of the reverse transcriptase gene. Sequences were analyzed via the Stanford HIVDRdatabase ( to screen for resistance mutations.Results:HIVDR in infants increased from 21.5 in 2007/2009 to 40.2% in 2014. Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance increased steadily over the sampling period, whereas nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance and dual class resistance both increased more than threefold in 2014. Analysis of drug resistance scores in each group revealed increasing strength of resistance over time. In 2014, children with reported PMTCT exposure, defined as infant prophylaxis and/or maternal treatment, showed a higher prevalence and strength of resistance compared to those with no reported exposure.Conclusion:HIVDR is on the rise in Zambia and presents a serious problem for the successful lifelong treatment of HIV-infected children. PMTCT affects both the prevalence and strength of resistance and further research is needed to determine how to mitigate its role leading to resistance.

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