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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 1997 Sep 20;13(14):1195-201.

An HIV type 1 epidemic among injecting drug users in the former Soviet Union caused by a homogeneous subtype A strain.

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The D.I. Ivanovsky Institute of Virology, Moscow, Russia.


Epidemiological data have demonstrated rapid growth of HIV-1 infections among injecting drug users (IDUs) in the Ukraine and Russia, during 1996. Here we describe the results of genetic analysis of isolates derived from 12 HIV-1-infected IDUs in different sites of Russia and the Ukraine. The blood samples were taken within a 1- to 2-month period after the first HIV-1-positive test. The results of the heteroduplex mobility assay as well as gag/env phylogenetic analysis reveal that all sequences belong to gag/env genetic subtype A. Moreover, interpatient genetic distances between the nucleotide sequences encompassing the C2-V3, the V4-V5, and p17-encoding regions within this group were low (the average means were 0.9, 1.3, and 0.4%, respectively). These data show a marked homogeneity of HIV-1, probably spreading during primary infection. It is possible that the current epidemic of subtype A HIV-1 among IDUs in the former Soviet Union is caused by a point source exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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