Purpose of review: As antiretroviral therapy scale-up proceeds in developing countries, simple and inexpensive procedures are required to monitor the prevalence and transmission of drug-resistant HIV strains to ensure optimal use of antiviral therapy. This article reviews new surveillance methods and practices used to monitor drug resistance in the developing world.
Recent findings: Several recently published studies report the successful development of methods using dried blood spots, collected on filter paper, for HIV drug resistance genotyping tests. In concert to antiretroviral therapy rollout, the WHO has developed a laboratory network and sought to implement surveillance of transmitted drug resistance in developing countries. A small number of developing world prevalence studies have thus far been published using dried blood spots. These studies reveal low rates of transmitted drug resistance. Other studies indicate that the use of dried blood spots for HIV drug resistance surveillance may possibly lead to overestimates.
Summary: The use of dried blood spots as a method of specimen collection and storage is simple, inexpensive and is an appropriate technique for the surveillance of transmitted HIV drug resistance.