Background: Contemporary antiretroviral therapies (ART) and management strategies have diminished both human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment failure and the acquired resistance to drugs in resource-rich regions, but transmission of drug-resistant viruses has not similarly decreased. In low- and middle-income regions, ART roll-out has improved outcomes, but has resulted in increasing acquired and transmitted resistances. Our objective was to review resistance to ART drugs and methods to detect it, and to provide updated recommendations for testing and monitoring for drug resistance in HIV-infected individuals.
Methods: A volunteer panel of experts appointed by the International Antiviral (formerly AIDS) Society-USA reviewed relevant peer-reviewed data that were published or presented at scientific conferences. Recommendations were rated according to the strength of the recommendation and quality of the evidence, and reached by full panel consensus.
Results: Resistance testing remains a cornerstone of ART. It is recommended in newly-diagnosed individuals and in patients in whom ART has failed. Testing for transmitted integrase strand-transfer inhibitor resistance is currently not recommended, but this may change as more resistance emerges with widespread use. Sanger-based and next-generation sequencing approaches are each suited for genotypic testing. Testing for minority variants harboring drug resistance may only be considered if treatments depend on a first-generation nonnucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Different HIV-1 subtypes do not need special considerations regarding resistance testing.
Conclusions: Testing for HIV drug resistance in drug-naive individuals and in patients in whom antiretroviral drugs are failing, and the appreciation of the role of testing, are crucial to the prevention and management of failure of ART.