HIV-positive children more likely to develop drug resistance

by Keith Brannon
The study emphasizes the importance of drug adherence for children and adolescents with HIV, says Dr. Russell Van Dyke. Credit: Paula Burch-Celentano

Children born with HIV are far more likely to develop resistance to antiretroviral drugs than adults, according to a new Tulane University School of Medicine study.

Researchers following almost 450 children enrolled in the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study, one of the largest studies of HIV-positive children in the United States, found that 74 percent had developed resistance to at least one form of drug treatment and 30 percent were resistant to at least two classes of HIV treatment drugs. In comparison, nearly 36 percent of adults with HIV have resistance to one form of and only 12 percent have resistance to at least two classes.

The study, which tracks patients at 14 sites across the country, followed participants from 7 to 16 years of age at enrollment.

"The problem with is that once you develop it, it never goes away," said principal investigator Dr. Russell Van Dyke, professor of pediatric infectious diseases. "Some patients with very resistant virus have no effective treatment options. Resistant virus is the major reason for death among youth with perinatal HIV."

Fortunately, most adolescents with resistant HIV remain sensitive to newer agents from all classes, allowing salvage therapy. Just one child in the study had resistance to all HIV drugs and only 18 percent had resistance to one drug from each of the three primary classes of HIV medications.

The study emphasizes the importance of drug adherence for children and adolescents with HIV who typically take multiple medications daily to manage the disease. Once daily, single-pill HIV medications for adults are not yet available for children, Van Dyke said.

"The best way to prevent resistance from developing is to take your medicine and suppress your viral load," Van Dyke said. "You develop resistance when you take some of your medications but not all. Then you've got virus that is replicating in the face of taking your medication. Lack of adherence is the major reason develops."

The study abstract was presented recently at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

More information: The abstract is available online: croiconference.org/sites/all/abstracts/897.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The evolution of drug resistance within a HIV population

Jan 23, 2014

Drug resistance mutations in HIV reduce the genetic diversity in the rest of the virus genome when they spread within an infected patient, but they do so to a different extent in different patients. A new study published ...

Mutation breaks HIV's resistance to drugs

Sep 13, 2012

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can contain dozens of different mutations, called polymorphisms. In a recent study an international team of researchers, including MU scientists, found that one of those mutations, called ...

Kids born with HIV growing up well

Apr 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Once facing an almost certain death sentence, most children born with HIV are now faring well into adolescence and adulthood, according to a newly published study co-authored by Tulane infectious diseases ...

Recommended for you

Cambodia orders probe into mass HIV infection

Dec 18, 2014

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday ordered a probe into an apparent mass HIV infection believed to have been spread by contaminated needles, as the number of suspected cases passed 100.

A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

Dec 17, 2014

Researchers are reporting another disappointment for efforts to cure infection with the AIDS virus. Six patients given blood-cell transplants similar to one that cured a man known as "the Berlin patient" have ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.