Following large-scale roll-out of antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa, the non-clinical efficacy of antiretroviral therapy has received little attention. We aimed to systematically review virological efficacy and drug-resistance outcomes of programmes of antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa. 89 studies with heterogeneous design, definitions, and methods were identified. Overall, in on-treatment analysis, 10 351 (78%) of 13 288 patients showed virological suppression after 6 months of antiretroviral therapy, 7413 (76%) of 9794 after 12 months, and 3840 (67%) of 5690 after 24 months. Long-term virological data are scarce. Genotyping results were available for patients with virological failure (HIV-1 RNA greater than 1000 copies per mL). Most patients (839 of 849; 99%) were infected with a non-B HIV-1 subtype. However, drug-resistance patterns were largely similar to those in subtype B. Resistance profiles were associated with the antiretroviral drugs commonly used: the lamivudine-associated M184V mutation was most common, followed by K103N which is associated with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. Thymidine-analogue mutations and the K65R mutation were less common. First-line antiretroviral therapy regimens used in sub-Saharan Africa are effective. Profiles of drug resistance suggest that a second-line treatment regimen based on protease inhibitors, with a backbone of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, is a reasonable option for patients with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa who experience first-line treatment failure.
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.