Purpose of review: To describe surveillance measures to inform HIV drug-resistance prevention, as part of the public health approach to antiretroviral therapy in developing countries.
Recent findings: Neither HIV drug-resistance transmission nor its emergence in treatment is routinely assessed in the developing world, but routine methods should be part of antiretroviral therapy scale-up. Mathematical modelling and experience in resource-rich countries suggest HIV drug-resistance transmission will increase as antiretroviral therapy coverage increases, but its rise will be limited initially. Transmission surveys should begin in geographic areas in each country where antiretroviral therapy coverage is widespread. Reports from resource-limited countries suggest that antiretroviral therapy programs are as effective as in resource-rich countries, which should limit HIV drug resistance if effectiveness is maintained with antiretroviral therapy expansion. Surveillance of HIV drug resistance emerging in treatment and other factors will support implementation of prevention measures on a population level.
Summary: Standardized surveillance of transmitted and treatment-associated HIV drug resistance is critical to the success of antiretroviral therapy expansion in developing countries. Routine assessment of prescribing practices, availability of and access to appropriate regimens for adults and children, antiretroviral drug supply continuity, and measures to prevent HIV transmission will supply critical information for HIV drug-resistance prevention.