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AIDS. 2003 Jul 25;17(11):1667-74.

Genetic diversity of HIV-1 in western Kenya: subtype-specific differences in mother-to-child transmission.

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  • 1Division of AIDS, STD, and TB Laboratory Research, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA.



Little is known about the impact of HIV-1 group M subtypes on mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV-1 in African settings where multiple HIV-1 group M subtypes are co-circulating.


To assess the role of subtype variation on MTCT.


HIV-1-infected women attending an antenatal clinic in western Kenya were enrolled for a prospective study (1996-2000) of MTCT. HIV-1 subtype analysis of p24gag and gp41env identified potential recombinants, and their role in MTCT was determined.


Among 414 women for whom HIV-1 subtype and HIV transmission status were available, MTCT occurred in 80 (19.3%). MTCT rates were higher among women with subtype D compared with subtype A in either the gp41 region [31.6 versus 16.1%, relative risk (RR) 2.0, P=0.002] or p24 region (29.9 versus 18.0%, RR 1.7, P=0.02). Discordant subtype combinations were identified in 103 of the women (25.9%), and were associated with higher rates of MTCT (28.2 versus 17.0%, RR 1.7, P=0.01). In multivariate analysis, women with subtype combinations D/D, D/A, and A/D had an increased risk of MTCT (adjusted odds ratios 3.5, 2.5, 6.2; P=0.005, 0.05, and 0.0003, respectively) compared with A/A women after adjustment for maternal HIV viral load, placental malaria infection, episiotomy or perineal tear, and low birthweight.


MTCT appears to be more common among mothers infected with subtype D compared with subtype A. Such differences in MTCT frequency may be caused by altered cellular tropism for placental cell types.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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