Virological response to highly active antiretroviral therapy in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and in patients dually infected with HIV-1 and HIV-2 in the Gambia and emergence of drug-resistant variants.

Drug design, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and drug resistance studies have focused almost exclusively on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), resulting in limited information for patients infected with HIV-2 and for those dually infected with HIV-1 and HIV-2. In this study, 20 patients, 12 infected with HIV-2 and 8 dually infected with HIV-1 and HIV-2, all treated with zidovudine (ZDV), lamivudine (3TC), and lopinavir-ritonavir (LPV/r), were followed up longitudinally for about 3 years. For 19/20 patients, viral loads were reduced to undetectable levels; the patient whose viral load remained detectable reported adverse effects associated with LPV/r that had caused him to stop taking all the drugs. HIV-2 strains containing mutations in both the protease and the reverse transcriptase gene that may confer drug resistance were observed in two patients with viral rebound, as early as 130 days (4.3 months) after the initiation of therapy. We conclude that the combination of ZDV, 3TC, and LPV/r is able to provide efficient and durable suppression of HIV-1 and HIV-2 for as long as 3 years in HIV-2-infected and dually infected patients. However, the emergence of HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains containing drug-resistant mutations can compromise the efficacy of this highly active ART.