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J Infect Dis. 2008 Apr 1;197(7):1011-5. doi: 10.1086/529206.

HIV-1 variation before seroconversion in men who have sex with men: analysis of acute/early HIV infection in the multicenter AIDS cohort study.

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Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


Understanding the characteristics of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) necessary for infection in a new host is a critical goal for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) research. We studied the characteristics of HIV-1 envelope genes in 38 men in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study cohort before seroconversion. We found a range of diversity (0.2%-5.6% [median, 0.86%]), V1-V2 loop length (58-93 aa), and potential N-linked glycosylation sites (n = 2-9). However, at least 46% of the men had replicating virus that appeared to have been derived from a single viral variant. Nearly all variants were predicted to be CCR5 tropic. We found no correlation between these viral characteristics and the HIV outcomes of time to clinical AIDS or death and/or a CD4 cell count <200 cells/microL.

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