HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations in Patients Failing 1st Line Therapy in a Comprehensive Care Center in Nairobi, Kenya


Background: HIV-1 drug resistance is an emerging challenge for HIV-1 infected clients who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART). In Kenya, as in many other developing countries, ART is now accesible to clients who need it. However, they must be done a CD4 test first and if the count is <300, then ART is commenced. With the initiation of ART comes the challenge of adherence to medication, a factor that is impacted greatly by the understanding of the client of the importance of adherence and the financial ability to keep their appointments, especially if the clients come from a distant location. Objective: To identify HIV-1 drug resistance mutations inclientsfailing1st line antiretroviral therapy in Nairobi, Kenya. Methodology: A cross sectional study was carried out where whole blood samples were collected from clients attending a HIV care and treatment clinic in Nairobi. Clients who had been on ART for more than 6 months and had a viral load greater than 1000 were enrolled in the study. A total of 52 client samples were successfully sequenced in the reverse transcriptase region and analyzed. Results: After analysis of the generated sequences, it was seen that 43 (82.6%) of the clients had HIV-1 drug resistance mutations conferring resistance to one or more nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Majority of the clients (46%) were infected with HIV-1 subtype A viruses. Conclusion: The findings of the study showed that a significant proportion of the clients on ART had developed resistance mutations to one or more drugs that are used as 1st line therapy in Kenya. There is need for continuous education of the population on importance of adherence to medication. There is also need for clinicians to be trained on using viral load and HIV drug resistance testing, where available, as methods of monitoring treatment failure so that clients can be switched to alternative medication immediately the need arises, so as to improve their treatment outcomes.

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Luvai, E. , Waihenya, R. , Munyao, J. , Sanguli, L. , Mwachari, C. and Khamadi, S. (2015) HIV-1 Drug Resistance Mutations in Patients Failing 1st Line Therapy in a Comprehensive Care Center in Nairobi, Kenya. World Journal of AIDS, 5, 83-89. doi: 10.4236/wja.2015.52010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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