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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006 Apr 1;41(4):399-404.

Genetic characterization of diverse HIV-1 strains in an immigrant population living in New York City.

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1
Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10016, USA.

Abstract

New York City (NYC) is one of the original foci of the HIV-1 epidemic and has a greater number of AIDS cases than any other city in the United States. NYC also hosts the highest number of immigrants among the nation's cities: more than 2 million among a total population of 8 million. Such a high rate of immigration could act as a potential source for introducing and disseminating novel HIV-1 strains into the United States. Our current study focuses on the genetic characterization of HIV-1 strains circulating in an immigrant population in NYC. Of the 505 HIV-1-positive specimens obtained, 196 were available for viral sequencing from the C2 to V3 region of env. Phylogenetic analysis using maximum-likelihood and neighbor-joining methods demonstrated that non-B subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) accounted for 43.4% (85 of 196 cases), whereas the remaining 56.6% (111 of 196) cases had viral variants similar to the typical North American subtype B virus. Of those non-B subtypes and CRFs, subtype A and CRF02 dominated (63.5% combined); other subtypes, including C, D, F1, G, CRF01_AE, and CRF06_cpx, were also detected. Two HIV-1 sequences do not cluster with any known subtypes or CRFs. Furthermore, the distribution of non-B subtypes and CRFs was consistent with the countries of origin, suggesting that many of the study subjects were likely infected in their home country before they entered the United States. Subtype B viruses identified in the immigrant population showed no significant differences from the typical North American B subtype, however, indicating that a significant proportion of the immigrants must have been infected after they came to the United States. Public health officials and physicians should be aware of the growing genetic diversity of HIV-1 in this country, particularly in areas with sizable immigrant populations.

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