Some closely related human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles are associated with variable clinical outcomes following HIV-1 infection despite presenting the same viral epitopes. Mechanisms underlying these differences remain unclear but may be due to intrinsic characteristics of the HLA alleles or responding T cell repertoires. Here we examine CD8+ T cell responses against the immunodominant HIV-1 Gag epitope TL9 (TPQDLNTML180-188) in the context of the protective allele B*81:01 and the less protective allele B*42:01. We observe a population of dual-reactive T cells that recognize TL9 presented by both B*81:01 and B*42:01 in individuals lacking one allele. The presence of dual-reactive T cells is associated with lower plasma viremia, suggesting a clinical benefit. In B*42:01 expressing individuals, the dual-reactive phenotype defines public T cell receptor (TCR) clones that recognize a wider range of TL9 escape variants, consistent with enhanced control of viral infection through containment of HIV-1 sequence adaptation.