Prevalence of and Viral Outcomes Associated with Primary HIV-1 Drug Resistance

SE Buskin*, 1, 2, S Zhang1, CS Thibault1
1 Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA, USA
2 University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

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© Buskin et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA, USA; Tel: (206) 205-6123; Fax: (206) 205-1472; E-mail:


Primary, or transmitted, HIV antiretroviral resistance is an ongoing concern despite continuing development of new antiretroviral therapies. We examined HIV surveillance data, including both patient demographic characteristics and laboratory data, combined with HIV genotypic test results to evaluate the comprehensiveness of drug resistance surveillance, prevalence of primary drug resistance, and impact, if any, of primary resistance on population-based virological outcomes. The King County, WA Variant, Atypical, and Resistant HIV Surveillance (VARHS) system increased coverage of eligible genotypic testing – within three months of an HIV diagnosis among antiretroviral naïve individuals -- from – 15% in 2003 to 69% in 2010. VARHS under-represented females, Blacks, Native Americans, and injection drug users. Primary drug resistance was more common among males, individuals aged 20 – 29 years, men who had sex with men, and individuals with an initial CD4+ lymphocyte count of 200 cells/µL and higher. High level resistance to two or three antiretroviral classes declined over time. Over 90% of sequences were HIV-1 subtype B. The proportion of individuals with a most recent viral load (closest to April 2011) that was undetectable (<50 copies/mL) was not statistically significantly associated with primary drug resistance. This was true for both number and type of antiretroviral drug class; although small numbers of specimens with drug resistance may have limited our statistical power. In summary, although we found disparities in testing coverage and prevalence of drug resistance, we were unable to detect a significantly deleterious impact of primary drug resistance based on a most recent viral load.

Keywords:: HIV-1, HIV transmitted drug resistance, HIV drug resistance surveillance, HIV viral load..