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ObjectivesIn low-middle-income countries, increasing levels of HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) on second-line protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimens are a cause for concern given the limited drug options for third-line antiretroviral therapy (ART). We conducted a retrospective analysis of routine HIV-1 genotyping laboratory data from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to describe the frequency and patterns of HIVDR mutations and their consequent impact on standardised third-line regimens.MethodsThis was a cross-sectional analysis of all HIV-1 genotypic resistance tests conducted by the National Health Laboratory Service in KwaZulu-Natal (January 2015 to December 2016) for adults and adolescents (age ≥10 years) on second-line PI-based ART with virological failure. We assigned a third-line regimen to each record based on a national treatment algorithm and calculated the genotypic susceptibility score (GSS) for that regimen.ResultsOf 348 samples analysed, 287 (82.5%) had at least one drug resistance mutation (DRM) and 114 (32.8%) had at least one major PI DRM. Major PI resistance was associated with longer duration on second-line ART (aOR per 6-months = 1.11, 95% CI 1.04-1.19) and older age (aOR = 1.03, 95% CI 1.01-1.05). Of 112 patients requiring third-line ART, 12 (10.7%) had a GSS of <2 for the algorithm-assigned third-line regimen.ConclusionOne-third of people failing second-line ART had significant PI DRMs. A subgroup of these individuals had extensive HIVDR, where the predicted activity of third-line ART was suboptimal, highlighting the need for continuous evaluation of outcomes on third-line regimens and close monitoring for emergent HIV-1 integrase inhibitor resistance.

Original publication





Journal of global antimicrobial resistance

Publication Date





468 - 475


Department of Virology, University of KwaZulu-Natal/National Health Laboratory Service, Durban, South Africa; Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; Critical Care Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD, USA. Electronic address:


Humans, HIV-1, HIV Infections, Protease Inhibitors, Anti-HIV Agents, Retrospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Drug Resistance, Viral, Adolescent, Adult, Child, South Africa