Pretreatment HIV-1 drug resistance in Argentina: results from a surveillance study performed according to WHO-proposed new methodology in 2014–15

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Abstract

Background

In Argentina, current national guidelines recommend starting with NNRTI-based regimens. Recently, there have been some local reports regarding concerning levels of NNRTI-transmitted resistance, but surveillance has never been carried out at a national level.

Objectives

To determine the prevalence of HIV drug resistance in people starting ART in Argentina using a WHO-proposed methodology.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional, nationally representative study. Twenty-five antiretroviral-dispensing sites throughout the country were randomly chosen to enrol at least 330 persons starting ART, to generate a point prevalence estimate of resistance-associated mutations (RAMs) with a 5% CI (for the total population and for those without antiretroviral exposure). All consecutive patients older than 18 years starting or restarting ART in the chosen clinics were eligible. Samples were processed with Trugene and analysed using the Stanford algorithm.

Results

Between August 2014 and March 2015, we obtained 330 samples from people starting ART. The mean ± SD age was 35 ± 11 years, 63.4% were male, 16.6% had prior antiretroviral exposure and the median (IQR) CD4 count was 275 cells/mm3 (106–461). The prevalence of RAMs found was 14% (±4%) for the whole population (3% NRTI-RAMs; 11% NNRTI-RAMs and 2% PI-RAMs) and 13% (±4%) for those without prior antiretroviral exposure (3%, 10% and 2%, respectively). The most common mutation was K103N.

Conclusions

This surveillance study showed concerning levels of HIV drug resistance in Argentina, especially to NNRTIs. Due to this finding, Argentina's Ministry of Health guidelines will change, recommending performing a resistance test for everyone before starting ART. If this is taken up properly, it also might function as a continuing surveillance tool.

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