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J Clin Microbiol. 2013 Aug;51(8):2662-9. doi: 10.1128/JCM.00880-13. Epub 2013 Jun 12.

Large-scale analysis of the prevalence and geographic distribution of HIV-1 non-B variants in the United States.

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  • 1ARUP Institute for Clinical and Experimental Pathology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.


The genetic diversity of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) has significant implications for diagnosis, vaccine development, and clinical management of patients. Although HIV-1 subtype B is predominant in the United States, factors such as global travel, immigration, and military deployment have the potential to increase the proportion of non-subtype B infections. Limited data are available on the prevalence and distribution of non-B HIV-1 strains in the United States. We sought to retrospectively examine the prevalence, geographic distribution, diversity, and temporal trends of HIV-1 non-B infections in samples obtained by ARUP Laboratories, a national reference laboratory, from all regions of the United States. HIV-1 pol sequences from 24,386 specimens collected from 46 states between 2004 and September 2011 for drug resistance genotyping were analyzed using the REGA HIV-1 Subtyping Tool, version 2.0. Sequences refractory to subtype determination or reported as non-subtype B by this tool were analyzed by PHYLIP version 3.5 and Simplot version 3.5.1. Non-subtype B strains accounted for 3.27% (798/24,386) of specimens. The 798 non-B specimens were received from 37 states and included 5 subtypes, 23 different circulating recombinant forms (CRFs), and 39 unique recombinant forms (URFs). The non-subtype B prevalence varied from 0% in 2004 (0/54) to 4.12% in 2011 (201/4,884). This large-scale analysis reveals that the diversity of HIV-1 in the United States is high, with multiple subtypes, CRFs, and URFs circulating. Moreover, the geographic distribution of non-B variants is widespread. Data from HIV-1 drug resistance testing have the potential to significantly enhance the surveillance of HIV-1 variants in the United States.

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