We explored the relationship between HIV-1 drug resistance in treatment-experienced patients and disease progression in a cohort of patients undergoing resistance testing to guide treatment decisions. A total of 601 treatment-failing individuals tested for genotypic HIV-1 drug resistance between 1998 and 2004 were selected. At genotypic testing, median HIV-1 RNA levels and CD4 counts were 3.8 log copies/ml and 293 cells/μl, respectively; 84% had resistance mutations to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs), 42% had resistance mutations to non-NRTIs, 51% had major resistance mutations to protease inhibitors (PI), 12% had no major resistance mutations to any drug class, 22% had mutations to one class, 42% had mutations to two classes, and 23% had mutations to three classes. During a follow-up of 714.7 patients/year, 80 patients showed an AIDS-defining event or died. In multivariable models adjusting for prior AIDS, baseline CD4 counts, HIV-1 RNA, and calendar year, viral resistance variables associated with increased hazards of clinical progression were the presence of reverse transcriptase substitution T215F (p = 0.002) and the presence of three or more protease substitutions among L33F/I/V, V82A/F/L/T, I84V, and L90M (p = 0.003). Resistance to three drug classes remained independently predictive of clinical progression only when calendar year was not used as an adjustment factor. Prevention and treatment of multiple drug class resistance are clinical priorities for HIV-infected patients. In recent years, improved treatment options may have helped in reducing part of the resistance-associated clinical progression.
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