China’s National Free Antiretroviral Treatment Program (NFATP) has substantially increased the survival rate since 2002. However, the emergence of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) limits the durability and effectiveness of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in at risk patients.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among patients having received a median of 13.9 months of ART in eight provinces in China. Demographic and clinical information was collected, and venous blood was sampled for CD4 cell counts, measurement of the HIV viral load (VL), and HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) genotyping. Possible risk factors for HIVDR were analyzed by the logistic regression model.
The study included 765 patients. Among them, 65 patients (8.5%) had virological failure (VLF) defined as ≥1,000 copies/ml. Among the individuals with VLF, 64 were successful genotyped, and of these, 33 had one or more HIVDR mutations. The prevalence of HIVDR mutations among patients receiving first-line ART was 4.3% (33/765). All of the patients with HIVDR mutations were resistant to non-nucleoside transcriptase inhibitors, 81.8% were resistant to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and only 3% had mutations that caused resistance to protease inhibitors. Having lower ratios of drug intake in the past month and dwelling in two southwestern provinces were factors independently associated with the emergence of HIVDR.
Most patients receiving first-line ART treatment achieved sound virological and immunological outcomes. However, poor adherence is still a key problem, which has led to the high rate of HIVDR. It was notable that the proportion of drug resistance widely varied among the provinces. More studies are needed to focus on adherence.