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Declining trend in transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 in Amsterdam

Bezemer, Danielaab; Jurriaans, Suzannec; Prins, Mariaa; van der Hoek, Liac; Prins, Jan Md; de Wolf, Franke; Berkhout, Benc; Coutinho, Roela,c; Back, Nicole KTc

doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000131357.52457.33

Objective: Symptomatic primary HIV infections are over-represented in the mainly hospital-based studies on transmission of resistant HIV-1. We examined a more general population for the prevalence of resistant HIV-1 strains among primary infections.

Design: From 1994 to 2002 primary infections were identified within the Amsterdam Cohort Studies (ACS) among homosexual men and drug users, and at the Academic Medical Center (AMC). Whereas primary HIV-1-infected AMC patients, often presented with symptoms of acute retroviral syndrome, ACS participants largely seroconverted during follow-up and thus brought also asymptomatic primary infections to our study.

Methods: Reverse transcriptase (RT) and protease sequences were obtained by population-based nucleotide sequence analysis of the first HIV RNA-positive sample available. Subtypes were identified by phylogenetic analysis. Mutations were identified based on the IAS–USA resistance table.

Results: A total of 100 primary HIV-1 infections were identified (32 AMC and 68 ACS). Transmission of drug-resistant strains decreased over calendar time, with 20% [95% confidence interval (CI), 10–34%] of infections bearing drug-resistant mutations before 1998 versus only 6% (95% CI, 1–17%) after 1998. No multi-drug resistance pattern was observed. The median plasma HIV-1 RNA level of the first RNA positive sample was significantly lower for the individuals infected with a resistant strain versus those infected with wild-type, suggesting a fitness-cost to resistance. Four of seven non-B subtypes corresponded with the prevalent subtype in the presumed country of infection, and none showed resistance mutations.

Conclusions: The transmission of drug-resistant HIV-1 strains in Amsterdam has decreased over time. Monitoring should be continued as this trend might change.

From the aMunicipal Health Service Amsterdam, the bPopulation Biology Section, University of Amsterdam, the cDepartment of Human Retrovirology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam thedDepartment of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and AIDS, Academic Medical Center and the eHIV Monitoring Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, UK.

Correspondence to Daniela Bezemer, HIV & STI Research, Municipal Health Service, Nieuwe Achtergracht 100, 1018 WT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Tel: + 31 (0)20 555 5231; fax + 31 (0)20 555 5533; e-mail:

Received: 1 March 2004; accepted: 7 May 2004.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.