HIV drug resistance: problems and perspectives

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Pleuni S. Pennings *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Pleuni S. Pennings | pleuni@stanford.edu

Abstract

Access to combination antiretroviral treatment (ART) has improved greatly over recent years. At the end of 2011, more than eight million HIV-infected people were receiving ART in low-income and middle-income countries. ART generally works well in keeping the virus suppressed and the patient healthy. However, treatment only works as long as the virus is not resistant against the drugs used. In the last decades, HIV treatments have become better and better at slowing down the evolution of drug resistance, so that some patients are treated for many years without having any resistance problems. However, for some patients, especially in low-income countries, drug resistance is still a serious threat to their health. This essay will review what is known about transmitted and acquired drug resistance, multi-class drug resistance, resistance to newer drugs, resistance due to treatment for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, the role of minority variants (low-frequency drug-resistance mutations), and resistance due to pre-exposure prophylaxis.

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