Background: Determining the prevalence of pre-treatment HIV drug resistance (PDR) is important to assess the effectiveness of first-line therapies. To determine PDR prevalence in Papua New Guinea (PNG), we conducted a nationally representative survey.
Methods: We used a two-stage cluster sampling method to recruit HIV treatment initiators with and without prior exposure to antiretroviral therapies (ART) in selected clinics. Dried blood spots were collected and tested for PDR.
Results: A total of 315 sequences were available for analysis. The overall PDR prevalence rate was 18.4%. The prevalence of PDR to non-nucleoside analog reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) was 17.8% and of PDR to nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) was 6.3%. The PDR prevalence rate among people reinitiating ART was 42.4%.
Conclusions: PNG has a high PDR prevalence rate, especially to NNRTI-based first-line therapies. Our findings suggest that removing NNRTIs as part of first-line treatment is warranted and will lead to improving viral suppression rates in PNG.