AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses vol:18 issue:6 pages:419-426
The introduction of potent combinations of antiviral drugs is a major breakthrough in the treatment of HIV. We investigated the long-term virologic outcome and the development of resistance after initiating highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in drug-naive patients in daily clinical practice. Twenty-five treatment-naive HIV-1 patients were started on HAART. Fifteen patients responded with a drop in viral load below the limit of detection during 35.5 (interquartile range: 7) months of therapy. In 6 of 10 patients with virologic failure, virus with resistance-related mutations against the received drugs emerged. Compared with responders (R), nonresponding (NR) patients were in a later disease stage at therapy start (p = 0.0089) with lower CD4 cell counts at baseline (p = 0.040), and a lower proportion of nonresponders showed protease inhibitor (PI) levels above C(min) (p = 0.049). More NR patients showed secondary PI mutations at baseline (p = 0.079), and the CCR2-64I coreceptor polymorphism was absent among NR patients, compared with 38.5% of R patients displaying CCR2-64I (p = 0.053), although the differences were not significant. In conclusion, starting HAART in antiretroviral drug-naive HIV-infected patients followed in daily clinical practice prevented viral breakthrough for up to 44 months in 60% of the patients. Virologic failure was associated with the development of resistance-related mutations, a later stage of disease at start of therapy and lower PI drug levels.