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AIDS. 2003 Nov 21;17(17):2521-7.

Diverse HIV-1 subtypes and clinical, laboratory and behavioral factors in a recently infected US military cohort.

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Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182, USA.



To describe the demographics, risk behaviors, and HIV-1 subtypes in a large cohort of recently HIV-infected military personnel.


Descriptive, cross-sectional study.


US military personnel with recent HIV seroconversion from six medical referral centers were enrolled with a self-administered questionnaire, CD4 cell counts, syphilis and hepatitis B serologies, plasma viral RNA levels, and HIV-1 subtype nucleic acid sequencing.


Between February 1997 and May 2000, 520 patients were enrolled. Most [488 (94.3%)] were infected with HIV-1 subtype B. The most prevalent non-B subtype was a circulating recombinant form (CRF01_AE) [17 (61%)]; however, two pure subtypes (C and D), as well as CRF02_AG, CRF09_cpx and a BE recombinant were identified. The likely area of HIV-1 acquisition was the United States for 70% of the volunteers. At least three non-B subtype infections (two subtype C, one subtype CRF01_AE) were apparently acquired domestically. Risk behaviors and comorbid sexually transmitted diseases were reported during the seroconversion period. Volunteers with non-B subtype HIV infection were more likely to report heterosexual contacts [92% vs. 39%; odds ratio (OR), 10.0], including contacts with commercial sex workers (41% vs. 13%; OR, 4.9). The Roche Amplicor version 1.0 assay was less sensitive for non-B subtype infections than the Roche Amplicor version 1.5 assay.


There is a high prevalence and diversity of non-B HIV subtypes in this large cohort. Efficient diagnosis of acute primary HIV-1 infection was identified as a goal for prevention programs. Modifiable risk behaviors and target populations for intervention were identified.

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