Introduction Initial evidence from resource-limited countries using the WHO HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) threshold survey suggests that transmission of drug-resistance strains is likely to be limited. However, as access to ART is expanded, increased emergence of HIVDR is feared as a potential consequence. We have performed a surveillance survey of transmitted HIVDR among recently infected persons in the geographic setting of Accra, Ghana.
Methods As part of a cross-sectional survey, 2 large voluntary counselling and testing centres in Accra enrolled 50 newly HIV-diagnosed, antiretroviral drug-naïve adults aged 18 to 25 years. Virus from plasma samples with >1,000 HIV RNA copies/mL (Roche Amplicor v1.5) were sequenced in the pol gene. Transmitted drug resistance-associated mutations (TDRM) were identified according to the WHO 2009 Surveillance DRM list, using Stanford CPR tool (v 5.0 beta). Phylogenetic relationships of the newly characterised viruses were estimated by comparison with HIV-1 reference sequences from the Los Alamos database, by using the ClustalW alignment program implemented.
Results Subtypes were predominantly D (39/70, 55.7%), A (29/70, 41.4%), and C (2/70; 2, 9%). Seven nucleotide sequences harboured a major TDRM (3 NNRTI, 3 NRTI, and 1 PI- associated mutation); HIVDR point prevalence was 10.0% (95%CI 4.1% to 19.5%). The identified TDRM were D67G (1.3%), L210W (2.6%); G190A (1.3%); G190S (1.3%); K101E (1.3%), and N88D (1.3%) for PI.
Discussion In Accra the capital city of Ghana, we found a rate of transmitted HIVDR, which, according to the WHO threshold survey method, falls into the moderate (5 to 15%) category. This is a considerable increase compared with the rate of <5% estimated in the 2006–7 survey among women attending an antenatal clinic in mamobi. As ART programs expand throughout Africa, incident infections should be monitored for the presence of transmitted drug resistance in order to guide ART regimen policies.
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