Transmission of HIV drug resistance increases among illegal drug users in Vancouver

published on May 19, 2017 in Healio

The prevalence of transmitted drug resistance in people with HIV who were using illegal drugs increased significantly over a 20-year period in Vancouver, British Columbia, researchers wrote in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“Our findings support baseline resistance testing early in the course of HIV infection to guide ART selection among people who use illegal drugs (PWUD) in our setting,” they wrote.

The researchers gathered data from two prospective cohorts of PWUD in the area — the AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services (ACCESS), which involved patients without HIV; and the Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS), which included those with the virus. The data spanned the period of 1996 to 2015.

Participants in both studies were recruited via street outreach and snowball sampling in the Vancouver area, and researchers focused on the city’s downtown Eastside neighborhood, because of the prevalence of drug use, poverty and HIV infection there. VIDUS participants who seroconverted during follow-up became candidates for the current study.

The study included 573 PWUD with HIV who had undergone at least one genotypic test for drug resistance before starting ART.

The median patient age was 37 years, 370 (64.6%) patients were male, 545 (95.1%) had a history of injection drug use and 101 (17.6%) had a documented recent HIV infection, the researchers wrote.

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