|Abstract: ||Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) treatment guidelines have evolved, shifting from more-aggressive to more-conservative approaches. The potential impact of these shifts on the transmission of drug-resistant virus is unknown.
Drug-resistance genotypes were examined in all consecutive patients with recent HIV type 1 (HIV-1) seroconversion (hereafter, "HIV-1 seroconverters") seen at 10 Spanish hospitals since 1997. During the same period, the proportion of patients with chronic HIV-1 infection having undetectable viremia was examined, to estimate the extent and effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy.
A total of 141 recent HIV-1 seroconverters were identified, 67.4% of whom were men who have sex with men. The rate of primary drug-resistance mutations, by year of infection, was 33.3% for 1997, 29.4% for 1998, 20% for 1999, 14.3% for 2000, 3.4% for 2001, 15.4% for 2002, and 10.9% for 2003. On the other hand, the proportion of 8388 persons with chronic HIV-1 carriage who had an undetectable virus load was 33.4% for 1997, 34.6% for 1998, 39.7% for 1999, 47.5% for 2000, 52.9% for 2001, 39.7% for 2002, and 58.1% for 2003. A significant inverse correlation between transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 and undetectable virus load was found (r=-0.955, by Spearman's test; P=.001). The lowest rate of transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 was seen in 2001, when relatively "aggressive" treatment guidelines were used. Transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 increased in 2002, in parallel with a reduction in the number of patients with chronic HIV-1 carriage and undetectable virus load, reflecting the popularity of drug holidays or treatment interruptions.
The rate of drug resistance in recent HIV-1 seroconverters inversely correlates with the proportion of chronically HIV-1-infected individuals who have undetectable virus loads in the same region, which indirectly reflects antiretroviral treatment rules at any given time.|