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BACKGROUND:Our understanding of HIV-1 and antiretroviral treatment (ART) is strongly biased towards subtype B, the predominant subtype in North America and western Europe. Efforts to characterize the response to first-line treatments in other HIV-1 subtypes have been hindered by the availability of large study cohorts in resource-limited settings. To maximize our statistical power, we combined HIV-1 sequence and clinical data from every available study population associated with the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) in Uganda. These records were combined with contemporaneous ART-naive records from Uganda in the Stanford HIVdb database. METHODS:Treatment failures were defined by the presence of HIV genotype records with sample collection dates after the ART start dates in the JCRC database. Drug resistances were predicted by the Stanford HIVdb algorithm, and HIV subtype classification and recombination detection was performed with SCUEAL. We used Bayesian network analysis to evaluate associations between drug exposures and subtypes, and binomial regression for associations with recombination. RESULTS:This is the largest database of first-line treatment failures ([Formula: see text]) in Uganda to date, with a predicted statistical power of 80% to detect subtype associations at an odds ratio of [Formula: see text]. In the subset where drug regimen data were available, we observed that use of 3TC was associated with a higher rate of first line treatment failure, whereas regimens containing AZT and TDF were associated with reduced rates of failure. In the complete database, we found limited evidence of associations between HIV-1 subtypes and treatment failure, with the exception of a significantly lower frequency of failures among A/D recombinants that comprised about 7% of the population. First-line treatment failure was significantly associated with reduced numbers of recombination breakpoints across subtypes. CONCLUSIONS:Expanding access to first-line ART should confer the anticipated public health benefits in Uganda, despite known differences in the pathogenesis of HIV-1 subtypes. Furthermore, the impact of ART may actually be enhanced by frequent inter-subtype recombination in this region.

Original publication





AIDS research and therapy

Publication Date





Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Health Sciences Addition, H422, Western University, London, ON, N6G 2R5, Canada.


The Ugandan Drug Resistance Study Team