Should resistance testing be performed for treatment-naive HIV-infected patients? A cost-effectiveness analysis

Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Nov 1;41(9):1316-23. doi: 10.1086/496984. Epub 2005 Sep 23.


Background: Data from the United States and Europe show a population prevalence of baseline drug resistance of 8%-10% among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients who are antiretroviral naive. Our objective was to determine the clinical impact and cost-effectiveness of genotype resistance testing for treatment-naive patients with chronic HIV infection.

Methods: We utilized a state-transition model of HIV disease to project life expectancy, costs, and cost-effectiveness in a hypothetical cohort of antiretroviral-naive patients with chronic HIV infection. On the basis of a US survey of treatment-naive patients from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we used a baseline prevalence of drug resistance of 8.3%.

Results: A strategy of genotype-resistance testing at initial diagnosis of HIV infection increased per-person quality-adjusted life expectancy by 1.0 months, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 23,900 dollars per quality-adjusted life-year gained, compared with no genotype testing. The cost-effectiveness ratio for resistance testing remained less than 50,000 dollars per quality-adjusted life-year gained, unless the prevalence of resistance was < or =1%, a level lower than those reported in most regions of the United States and Europe. In sensitivity analyses, the cost-effectiveness remained favorable through wide variations in baseline assumptions, including variations in genotype cost, prevalence of resistance overall and to individual drug classes, and sensitivity of resistance testing.

Conclusions: Genotype-resistance testing of chronically HIV-infected, antiretroviral-naive patients is likely to improve clinical outcomes and is cost-effective, compared with other HIV care in the United States. Resistance testing at the time of diagnosis should be the standard of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Viral*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • HIV / drug effects
  • HIV / genetics
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / economics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents