Objective: To characterize HIV-1 phenotypic resistance patterns and genotyp
ic mutations among patients taking antiretroviral medications in Uganda.
Methods: We reviewed charts and retrieved archived plasma specimens from pa
tients at an AIDS specialty center in Uganda where antiretroviral therapy h
as been used since 1996. Phenotypic and genotypic resistance testing was do
ne on specimens associated with a viral load of 1000 copies/ml.
Results: Resistance testing of specimens was completed for 16 patients. Amo
ng 11 specimens collected before initiation of antiretroviral therapy, no p
henotypic resistance or primary genotypic mutations were found. Among 8 pat
ients taking lamivudine, phenotypic resistance was found for 9 (90%) of 10
specimens and was associated with an M184V mutation in all nine cases. Amon
g 12 patients taking zidovudine, no phenotypic resistance and few primary m
utations were found. For 6 patients who were receiving protease inhibitors,
we observed no phenotypic resistance and only one primary genotypic mutati
on associated with resistance.
Conclusions: The absence of apparent resistance among samples collected bef
ore antiretroviral therapy supports the notion that a similar approach to s
election of antiretroviral therapy can generally be used against non-B subt
ypes. A genotypic marker of antiretroviral resistance to lamivudine in HIV-
1 subtypes A, C, and D was similar to those in subtype B infections. These
results suggest that the methods used for monitoring for the emergence of d
rug resistance in antiretroviral programs in Africa may be similar to those
used in developed settings.