HIV-1 early and late diagnosis in the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy): A three year study

Giuseppina Musumeci, Giacomo Magnani, Isabella Bon, Serena Longo, Alessia Bertoldi, Anna Maria Degli Antoni, Maria Rita Rossi, Alessandro Ruggieri, Vittorio Sambri, Simona Semprini, Laura Sighinolfi, Maria Alessandra Ursitti, Alessandro Zerbini, Vincenzo Colangeli, Leonardo Calza, Alba Carola Finarelli, Erika Massimiliani, Maria Carla Re

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is crucial to establish the timing of infection and distinguish between early and long-lasting HIV-1 infections not only for partner notification and epidemiological surveillance, but also to offer early drug treatment and contain the spread of infection. This study analyzed serum and/or plasma samples with a first positive HIV antibody/antigen result coming from different Medical Centers in the Emilia Romagna Region, North East Italy, using the avidity assay, Western Blotting, RNA viral load, CD4 cell counts and genotyping assay. From May 2013 to May 2016, we certified 845 new HIV-1 infections, 18.7% of which were classified on the basis of avidity index as recent infections and 81.3% as long-lasting infections, with an estimated conversion time exceeding six months at the time of study. Western Blotting showed reactivity to only one or two HIV-1 proteins in recently infected patients (RIPs), while a complete pattern to gag, env and pol proteins was observed in most long-lasting infected patients (LLIPs). The median age, gender, nationality and risk transmission factors were comparable in RIPs and LLIPs. Phylogenetic analysis performed in available plasma disclosed B strains, non-B subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) in both groups of patients, with a major presence of CRFs in non-Italian HIV subjects. The large number of patients unaware of their HIV status makes it crucial to discover hidden epidemics and implement appropriate targeted public health interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalNew Microbiologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • HIV
  • Long-lasting infection
  • Recent infection
  • Viral strains

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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