Non-B HIV type 1 subtypes among men who have sex with men in Rome, Italy

M. Giuliani, S. Montieri, G. Palamara, A. Latini, C. Alteri, C. F. Perno, M. M. Santoro, G. Rezza, M. Ciccozzi

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An increase in the circulation of HIV-1 non-B subtypes has been observed in recent years in Western European countries. Due to the lack of data on the circulation of HIV-1 non-B subtypes among European HIV-1-infected men who have sex with men (MSM), a biomolecular study was conducted in Rome, Italy. HIV-1 partial pol gene sequences from 111 MSM individuals (76 drug naive and 35 drug experienced) were collected during the years 2004-2006. All these sequences were analyzed using the REGA HIV-1 Subtyping Tool, and aligned using CLUSTAL X followed by manual editing using the Bioedit software. A BLAST search for non-B subtype sequences was also performed. Twenty-six (23.4%) MSM were not Italians. Eight individuals (7.2%) were diagnosed as HIV infected before 1991, 20 (18.0%) between 1991 and 1999, and 83 (74.8%) from 2000 to 2006. Fifteen (15/111, 13.5%) individuals were infected with the non-B subtype. The percentage of infection with HIV-1 non-B subtypes was 8.2% (7/85) among Italian MSM and 30.8% (8/26) among the non-Italians (OR = 4.95 95% IC: 1.40-17.87). Individuals infected with the non-B subtype were significantly younger than those infected with the HIV-1 B subtype (28 years vs. 34 years, p = 0.003). The CRFs were more prevalent (8.1%) than pure subtypes (5.4%), which were distributed as follows: subtype C (2.6%), subtype A1 (1.7%), and subtype F1 (0.9%). Major mutations conferring resistance to antiretroviral drugs (ARV) were not found among HIV-1 non-B subtype drug-naive patients but were found in two ARV-experienced individuals. The data show that viral diversity is likely increasing in a population group that had been previously characterized by the circulation of HIV-1 subtype B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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