Infection with a strain of HIV already resistant to one or more antiretroviral drugs does not necessarily result in more rapid disease progression, according to a study in the January 1 edition of the journal AIDS. The researchers followed about 300 HIV patients, 10% of whom were infected with drug-resistant strains of virus. They found no difference in the likelihood of suppressing HIV viral levels to below 500 through tailored drug regimens between patients with drug-resistant infections and those still responsive to all anti-HIV drugs.
CD4-cell counts did fall more rapidly in the first year after infection among individuals with drug-resistant virus, but CD4-cell drop-offs occurred at similar rates in subsequent years. At the five-year mark following infection, median CD4-cell counts were similar among all study subjects.