A new study shows that few health care professionals who care for HIV-positive patients can accurately match the majority of HIV genetic mutations as seen on genotypic resistance tests with the drug classes affected by the mutations, HIVandHepatitis.com reports. Researchers at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Elmhurst, N.Y., tested 100 providers, asking them to match 16 resistance-associated point mutations with six drug groups affected by the mutations. Only one provider correctly identified at least one resistance mutation for each of the six drug groups, and 36% failed to match any mutations with any of the drug groups. Among providers who considered themselves "experts" in HIV care, only 53% correctly matched drug resistance mutations for at least four drug groups.
Certain mutations in the virus are linked with the development of patients' resistance to anti-HIV medications. When those mutations are identified through genotypic resistance tests, the medication is usually replaced with a drug to which the virus is still susceptible. "Our data underscore the need to address the issue of provider knowledge with regard to genotypic testing and its potential effect on patient care," the researchers conclude. The full study appears in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.