Sustaining virological suppression among HIV-infected adolescents is challenging. We evaluated a home-based adherence intervention and characterized self-reported adherence, virological response and drug resistance among adolescents failing atazanavir/ritonavir (ATV/r)-based 2nd line treatment. Methods: HIV-positive adolescents (10-18 years) on ATV/r-based 2nd line treatment with virological failure (viral load (VL) ≥1 000 copies/ml) were randomized to either standard care (SC) or SC with addition of modified directly administered antiretroviral therapy (mDAART) for 90 days. VL was measured and questionnaires were administered at study entry and at 3 months. Genotyping was done for participants with continued failure. Primary outcome was suppression to VL < 1 000 copies/ml. Results: Fifty adolescents aged 10-18 years on 2nd line treatment for >180 days were enrolled, 23(46%) were randomized to mDAART and 27(54%) to SC. Fifty-four percent were female; mean age was 15.8 years; mean baseline VL was 4.8(log10) copies/ml; 40% reported adherence <80% in previous 1 month at baseline; 40% suppressed (VL <1 000 copies/ml) after follow-up. mDAART resulted in significantly increased self-reported adherence (RR= 0.1; 95% CI=0.02-0.8, p=0.023); closely following dosing schedule (RR= 4.8; 95% CI=1.6-13.8, p=0.004); VL decrease (p=0.031) and modest increase in virological suppression to <1 000 copies/ml (p=0.105). Genotyping in 28/30 participants with continued virological failure demonstrated high level atazanavir resistance (I50L, N88S and I84V) in 6(21%); 3(11%) of whom also had high level resistance to lopinavir and darunavir (V32I, I50L, I54V, 147V and V82A). Discussion: The mDAART intervention modestly improved virological suppression among adolescents with ATV/r-based 2nd line treatment failure, significantly increased self-reported adherence and decreased viral load. High level ATV/r resistance was demonstrated. Conclusion: Targeting mDAART to adolescents who are virologically failing PI-based 2nd line treatment decreases viral load and increases self-reported adherence. Early drug-resistance testing could reduce morbidity and mortality.
Key words: Adolescents, HIV, second-line treatment failure, adherence, resistance.
Copyright © 2018 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0