HIV drug resistance

Once a person becomes infected with HIV, the virus starts to multiply (make copies of itself) in the body. As HIV multiplies, the virus sometimes mutates (changes form) and produces variations of it. The ability of HIV to mutate and reproduce the copy of it in the presence of antiretroviral drugs is called HIV drug resistance (HIVDR). Variations of HIV that gets develop while a person is taking HIV medicines may lead to drug-resistant strains of HIV.

HIV medicines that were able to previously control the person’s HIV may not be effective against the new, drug-resistant HIV. In other words, the HIV medicines will not be able to prevent the drug-resistant HIV from multiplying. Drug resistance can cause HIV treatment to fail.

Currently, WHO is developing a new five-year global action plan for 2016-2021 to support a coordinated international effort to monitor, prevent and respond to the emergence of HIV drug resistance, and to strengthen country efforts to achieve the global HIV targets.