The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) changes (mutates) often. Sometimes these changes make the virus resistant to a particular medicine or class of medicines, which means the medicine is no longer effective against the virus. When this happens, the medicine no longer controls virus growth (replication) or protects the immune system.
Resistance testing is done to determine whether resistance has caused treatment to fail and to identify antiretroviral medicines that can be used to treat the infection. There are many reasons that treatment fails, such as:
Two tests are available to detect resistance to medicines used to treat HIV infections:
Both of these tests are done on a sample of blood taken from a vein. These tests may not be accurate if the resistant virus is less than 20% of the circulating virus.
You may be tested for infection with a resistant virus when:
Resistance reduces the number of treatment options in the future, so it is important to keep resistance from happening.
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Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
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