Circulation of HIV-1 CRF02-AG among MSM population in Central Italy: A molecular epidemiology-based study

Massimo Giuliani, Maria M. Santoro, Alessandra Lo Presti, Eleonora Cella, Paola Scognamiglio, Alessia Lai, Alessandra Latini, Lavinia Fabeni, Caterina Gori, Carmela Pinnetti, Enrico Girardi, Carlo F. Perno, Gianguglielmo Zehender, Massimo Ciccozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. The evolutionary and demographic history of the circular recombinant form CRF02-AG in a selected retrospective group of HIV-1 infected men who have sex with men (MSM) resident in Central Italy was investigated. Methods. A total of 55 HIV-1 subtype CRF02-AG pol sequences were analyzed using Bayesian methods and a relaxed molecular clock to reconstruct their dated phylogeny and estimate population dynamics. Results. Dated phylogeny indicated that the HIV-1 CRF02-AG strains currently circulating in Central Italy originated in the early 90's. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of a main HIV-1 CRF02-AG clade, introduced in the area of Rome before 2000 and subsequently differentiated in two different subclades with a different date of introduction (2000 versus 2005). All the sequences within clusters were interspersed, indicating that the MSM analyzed form a close and restricted network where the individuals, also moving within different clinical centers, attend the same places to meet and exchange sex. Conclusions. It was suggested that the HIV-1 CRF02-AG epidemic entered central Italy in the early 1990s, with a similar trend observed in western Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number810617
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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