We demonstrate hindered envelope antibody maturation in PWID who became infected while receiving PrEP in the Bangkok Tenofovir Study, which has significant implications for HIV diagnosis. Delayed maturation of the antibody response to HIV may increase the time to detection for antibody-based tests.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective HIV prevention tool, although effectiveness is dependent upon adherence. It is important to characterize the impact of PrEP on HIV antibody responses in people who experience breakthrough infections in order to understand the potential impact on timely diagnosis and treatment.
Overall, longitudinal antibody levels and avidity were notably lower in the PrEP breakthrough group compared to the placebo group. Survival analyses demonstrated a difference in time to antibody reactivity between treatment groups for all Bio-Plex biomarkers. Longitudinal gp120 antibody levels within the PrEP breakthrough group were decreased compared to the placebo group. When accounting for PrEP adherence, both gp120 and gp160 antibody levels were lower in the PrEP breakthrough group compared to the placebo group.
Longitudinal HIV-1-specific antibody responses were evaluated in 42 people who inject drugs (PWID) from the Bangkok Tenofovir Study (placebo=28; PrEP=14) who acquired HIV while receiving PrEP. HIV-1 antibody levels and avidity to three envelope proteins (gp41, gp160, and gp120) were measured in the plasma using a customized Bio-Plex (Bio-Rad Laboratories) assay. A survival analysis was performed for each biomarker to compare the distribution of times at which study subjects exceeded the recent/long-term assay threshold, comparing PrEP and placebo treatment groups. We fit mixed-effects models to identify longitudinal differences in antibody levels and avidity between groups.