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Am J Epidemiol. 2000 Nov 1;152(9):814-22.

Genetic analysis reveals epidemiologic patterns in the spread of human immunodeficiency virus.

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  • 1Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM 87545, USA. kuiken@lanl.gov


The extreme variability of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) makes it possible to conduct transmission studies on the basis of genetic analysis and to trace global and local patterns in the spread of the virus. Two such patterns are discussed in this paper. First, in many European countries (e.g., Scotland and Germany), homosexual men tend to be infected with a subtly different variant of HIV-1 than intravenous drug users. In other European countries (e.g., Norway and Sweden), a distinction is also found between the two risk groups; but based on available data, the distinction is a different one. The second pattern is a worldwide tendency for homosexual men in many different geographic regions around the world to carry HIV-1 subtype B, the variant that is most prevalent in the Americas, Europe, and Australia. In contrast, people infected via other routes (mostly heterosexual contact) in those same countries carry a mixture of other subtypes. Biologic differences between the viruses infecting different risk groups have not been found; the most likely explanation for the findings is different epidemiologic patterns. Although data are still scarce, the authors attempt to use these patterns in the reconstruction of the worldwide spread of the HIV epidemic.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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