Evaluate the potential effectiveness of the implementation of dolutegravir (DTG)-based regimens in patients on failing current antiretroviral treatment (ART) given the high levels of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) resistance in Togo.
Patients on ART attending health facilities for routine follow-up visits and for whom HIV viral load test was performed were consecutively included.
Protease, reverse transcriptase and integrase fragments were sequenced and analyzed for presence of drug resistance mutations for patients with viral load more than 1000 copies/ml.
Among 1681 patients, 320 (19.04%) had viral load more than 1000 copies/ml and 200 were tested for drug resistance mutations. Reverse transcriptase gene was successfully sequenced for 181/200 (90.5%) patients; 140/181 (77.4%) were resistant to NRTIs and non-NRTIs, 4/181 (2.2%) to NRTIs only and 18/181 (9.9%) to non-NRTIs only. Many viral strains accumulated mutations predicting resistance to NRTIs recommended in first and second-line DTG-based ART regimens. ART switch to a DTG-based regimen after viral load testing (viral load >1000 copies/ml) or blind switch without prior viral load testing to a new DTG-based first line, estimated 31% and 47.6% of patients to be potentially on functional DTG monotherapy respectively.
Overall, our results predict that, at the scale of sub-Saharan Africa a significant proportion of patients could be on functional monotherapy. To achieve the third 90 of UNAIDS objectives, implementation of DTG-based regimens should be accompanied with an accelerated scaling up of access to viral load. Studies designed to quantify the implications of use of suboptimal DTG-based regimens are also needed.