AIDS RESEARCH AND HUMAN RETROVIRUSES, vol.39, no.2, pp.84-90, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
Rilpivirine, one of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors class anti-HIV agents, is used as an alternative drug to treat HIV-1-positive individuals according to current antiretroviral therapy (ART) guidelines. Mutation in the position E138 in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) leads to resistance to rilpivirine, alone reducing its susceptibility two to threefolds. The main aim of this study was to determine the dynamics of E138 mutation in the RT domain of the HIV-1 pol gene; in 6398 newly diagnosed and treatment-naive individuals in Turkey from 2013 to 2021. Rilpivirine-associated mutations were found among 424 (6.6%) out of 6398. Individuals with the E138 mutation had significantly higher HIV-1 RNA load than individuals without the E138 mutation (p = .044). The E138 mutation was mainly observed in the B subtype (40%) of HIV-1 compared to the non-B subtypes (26.9%) and the circulating recombinant forms (33.1%) (p < .001). Most E138 mutations were E138A (80%), followed by E138G (16.5%). This study uncovered the dynamics of rilpivirine-associated mutations over a long period and a large patient population. Before administering ART regimens consisting of rilpivirine, resistance monitoring is highly recommended for effective patient management in the treatment-of naive HIV-1-infected individuals.