This study examines the association between presence of drug resistance mutations and phenotypic resistance at baseline to virologic response to salvage therapy in a community setting. The study population consisted of 58 antiretroviral drug-experienced patients with HIV-1 infection who had recently switched therapy because of virologic failure. Drug resistance mutations in the reverse transcriptase- and protease-coding regions and phenotypic susceptibility to 13 antiretroviral drugs were assessed at baseline. Plasma HIV-1 RNA levels were assessed at baseline and at subsequent clinic visits. Results showed that three variables were significant in predicting virologic response: HIV-1 levels at baseline, number of protease mutations, and phenotypic sensitivity score for the regimen at baseline. For four drugs there was a significant association between the presence of specific drug resistance mutations and >10-fold phenotypic resistance to that drug. With phenotypic resistance defined as >4-fold resistance, the association between specific drug resistance mutations and phenotypic resistance was significant for seven drugs. Overall, these data show that phenotypic susceptibility and absence of drug resistance mutations, particularly protease mutations, are significant predictors of virologic response. For several drugs, specific combinations of drug resistance mutations are associated with decreased phenotypic susceptibility and might provide useful clinical guidelines in selecting therapeutic options. © 2001 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.