WHO special supplement of the Clinical Infectious Disease journal

The World Health Organization HIV drug resistance prevention and assessment strategy: Global, regional and country progress

15 May 2012 Volume 54 Supplement 4

In 2010, 6.6 million adults and children in low- and middle- income countries received antiretroviral therapy, representing a 22-fold increase from 2001. The WHO, in collaboration with HIVResNet, an advisory body of international experts from over 50 institutions, has led global efforts for the prevention and assessment of HIV drug resistance. Jointly, they have developed a standardized, minimum resource, population-based strategy, which provides comparable data over time and across regions. At present, the strategy consists of three main assessment elements: Early Warning Indicators (EWI) of HIV drug resistance, surveys of acquired and transmitted HIV drug resistance and surveys of HIV drug resistance in children less than 18 months of age. Additionally, the strategy includes the development of a network of HIV drug resistance testing (genotyping) laboratories that support public health surveillance.

As of June 2011, 52 countries had implemented one of more elements of the WHO’S HIV drug resistance prevention and assessment strategy, and 27 laboratories had become members of the WHO HIV drug resistance laboratory network.

The purpose of the HIV drug resistance Clinical Infectious Disease supplement published in 2012 is to update the reader on global, regional, and country-level results generated by the strategy, as well as continuing programmatic and public heath action. Additionally, the supplement reports on a the new surveillance method for assessment of HIV drug resistance in children less than 18 months of age and provides an update on the WHO external quality assessment process for genotyping, as well as WHO-supported operational research on the use of dried blood spots as specimens for HIV drug resistance testing.