Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes approximately 2.5 million new infections every year, and nearly 1.6 million patients succumb to HIV each year. Several factors, including cross-species transmission and error-prone replication have resulted in extraordinary genetic diversity of HIV groups. One of these groups, known as group M (main) contains nine subtypes (A-D, F-H and J-K) and causes ~95% of all HIV infections. Most reported data on susceptibility and resistance to anti-HIV therapies are from subtype B HIV infections, which are prevalent in developed countries but account for only ~12% of all global HIV infections, whereas non-B subtype HIV infections that account for ~88% of all HIV infections are prevalent primarily in low and middle-income countries. Although the treatments for subtype B infections are generally effective against non-B subtype infections, there are differences in response to therapies. Here, we review how polymorphisms, transmission efficiency of drug-resistant strains, and differences in genetic barrier for drug resistance can differentially alter the response to reverse transcriptase-targeting therapies in various subtypes.