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The Body Covers: The 5th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections
Session 85, Abstract 678: Emergence of HIV-1 Resistance in Seminal Plasma of Men on Antiretroviral Therapy

February 4, 1998

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

This poster, presented by Eron and colleagues, offers discouraging news in two areas. While this was a small pilot study, it sends a clear message. First, the findings suggest that potent combination therapy, even with a protease inhibitor, is not as effective in the genital tract as it is in the bloodstream. Second, the data suggest that drug-resistant strains of HIV could be transmitted via sexual contact, even in the presence of potent antiretroviral therapy.

Over a period of more than a year, the investigators analyzed blood and semen samples in nine HIV-positive men, collecting samples before the patients began combination therapy and during their treatment. Eron et al. concluded the following:

  1. HIV that was resistant to both nucleoside (AZT, 3TC, ddC, etc.) and non-nucleoside (nevirapine, delavirdine) treatments was found in the semen of men with detectable virus in blood and semen.

  2. Patterns of drug resistance in blood and in semen were similar, but not usually the same. In fact, the resistance patterns matched only once.

  3. The majority of HIV in the genital tract is genetically different from the types of HIV found in the blood. This suggests that HIV evolves differently in each 'compartment', thus complicating treatment and efforts to prevent transmission of resistant virus.

  4. Transmission of reverse transcriptase inhibitor-resistant -- and probably protease inhibitor-resistant -- virus is likely.

These data show that transmission and treatment of drug resistant HIV is likely to become a significant public health challenge for the HIV community. Larger studies are underway at a number of centers.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

See Also
The Body's Guide to HIV Drug Resistance
Archived Material on Drug Resistance Research



  
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Please note: Knowledge about HIV changes rapidly. Note the date of this summary's publication, and before treating patients or employing any therapies described in these materials, verify all information independently. If you are a patient, please consult a doctor or other medical professional before acting on any of the information presented in this summary. For a complete listing of our most recent conference coverage, click here.

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