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PLoS One. 2018 Feb 1;13(2):e0191891. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191891. eCollection 2018.

Molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 subtype A in former Soviet Union countries.

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Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Technology, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.
Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States of America.
Division of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention of AIDS, Astana, Kazakhstan.
National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic, Osh, Kyrgyzstan.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Nazarbayev School of Medicine, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan.


While in other parts of the world it is on decline, incidence of HIV infection continues to rise in the former Soviet Union (FSU) countries. The present study was conducted to investigate the patterns and modes of HIV transmission in FSU countries. We performed phylogenetic analysis of publicly available 2705 HIV-1 subtype A pol sequences from thirteen FSU countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Our analysis showed that the clusters from FSU countries were intermixed, indicating a possible role of transmigration in HIV transmission. Injection drug use was found to be the most frequent mode of transmission, while the clusters from PWID and heterosexual transmission were intermixed, indicating bridging of HIV infection across populations. To control the expanding HIV epidemic in this region, harm reduction strategies should be focused on three modes of transmission, namely, cross-border migration, injection drug use and heterosexual.

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