Virologic Failure and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Drug Resistance in Rural Cameroon With Regard to the UNAIDS 90-90-90 Treatment Targets

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In rural Africa, data on virologic effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment (ART) are not sufficient to assess the gap with the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets. We investigated the prevalences of unsuppressed viral load and antiretroviral drug resistance and the profile of genotypic resistance mutations among patients routinely treated in rural Cameroon.


A cross-sectional study was performed in 2013–2014 among patients ≥15 years and on first-line ART for ≥6 months in a district hospital. Patients were offered free access to human immunodeficiency virus viral load testing. Genotypic drug resistance testing was done when the viral load was >1000 copies/mL. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship of unsuppressed viral load or antiretroviral drug resistance with sociodemographic and medical characteristics.


Of 407 patients (women 74.9%, median age 41.8 years, median time on ART 29.2 months), 96 (23.6%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 19.5–28.0) had unsuppressed viral load and 74 (18.2%; 95% CI, 14.6–22.3) had antiretroviral drug resistance. The prevalences of unsuppressed viral load and resistance increased with time on ART, from 12.0% and 8.0% in the 6- to 12-month group to 31.3% and 27.1% in the >72-month group, respectively. All 74 patients with antiretroviral drug resistance were resistant to nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, and 57 of them were also resistant to nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors.


Our estimations were among the highest observed in the west and central African region. The proportion of patients with virologic failure should be divided at least by 2 to reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets.

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