High Prevalence of HIV Drug Resistance Among Newly Diagnosed Infants Aged <18 Months: Results From a Nationwide Surveillance in Nigeria

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Abstract

Background:

WHO recommends protease-inhibitor-based first-line regimen in infants because of risk of drug resistance from failed prophylaxis used in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). However, cost and logistics impede implementation in sub-Saharan Africa, and >75% of children still receive nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based regimen (NNRTI) used in PMTCT.

Methods:

We assessed the national pretreatment drug resistance prevalence of HIV-infected children aged <18 months in Nigeria, using WHO-recommended HIV drug resistance surveillance protocol. We used remnant dried blood spots collected between June 2014 and July 2015 from 15 early infant diagnosis facilities spread across all the 6 geopolitical regions of Nigeria. Sampling was through a probability proportional-to-size approach. HIV drug resistance was determined by population-based sequencing.

Results:

Overall, in 48% of infants (205 of 430) drug resistance mutations (DRM) were detected, conferring resistance to predominantly NNRTIs (45%). NRTI and multiclass NRTI/NNRTI resistance were present at 22% and 20%, respectively, while resistance to protease inhibitors was at 2%. Among 204 infants with exposure to drugs for PMTCT, 57% had DRMs, conferring NNRTI resistance in 54% and multiclass NRTI/NNRTI resistance in 29%. DRMs were also detected in 34% of 132 PMTCT unexposed infants.

Conclusion:

A high frequency of PDR, mainly NNRTI-associated, was observed in a nationwide surveillance among newly diagnosed HIV-infected children in Nigeria. PDR prevalence was equally high in PMTCT-unexposed infants. Our results support the use of protease inhibitor-based first-line regimens in HIV-infected young children regardless of PMTCT history and underscore the need to accelerate implementation of the newly disseminated guideline in Nigeria.

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