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J Infect Dis. 2012 Apr 15;205(8):1239-47. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jis103. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Characterization of acute HIV-1 infection in high-risk Nigerian populations.

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  • 1Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. mcharurat@ihv.umaryland.edu



Acute phase of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (AHI) may account for a significant proportion of HIV-1 transmission. We identified and characterized individuals in Nigeria with AHI.


Individuals were tested using a combination of rapid HIV testing in mobile units and laboratory-based specimen pooling for nucleic acid amplification testing. Genome sequences were characterized. A linear segmented regression model was fit to serial viral load (VL) measurements to characterize early VL profiles.


Sixteen AHIs were identified from 28 655 persons screened. Specimens were genotyped: 7 (43.8%) were CRF02_AG, 6 (37.5%) were subtype G, 1 (6.3%) was CRF06_cpx, and 2 (12.5%) were unique recombinant forms. No antiretroviral resistance mutations were detected. The mean duration of high VL burden from peak to nadir was 76 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 58-93 days), and the mean rate of viremic control was -0.66 log(10) VL per month. The mean VL at set-point was 4.5 log(10) copies/mL (95% CI, 3.9-5.1 log(10) copies/mL).


This study is the first to characterize AHI among Nigerians identified as HIV infected before seroconversion who would be otherwise missed by conventional HIV testing. Infections by HIV subtypes in Nigeria exhibit long periods of high viral burden, which can contribute to increased transmissibility.

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