Background: Increased evidence of relevant HIV-1 epidemic transmission in European countries is being reported, with an increased circulation of non-B-subtypes. Here, we present two recent HIV-1 non-B transmission clusters characterized by NNRTI-related amino-acidic mutations among newly diagnosed HIV-1 infected men, living in Rome (Central-Italy). Methods: Pol and V3 sequences were available at the time of diagnosis for all individuals. Maximum-Likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic-trees with bootstrap and Bayesian-probability supports defined transmission-clusters. HIV-1 drug-resistance and V3-tropism were also evaluated. Results: Among 534 new HIV-1 non-B cases, diagnosed from 2011 to 2014, in Central-Italy, 35 carried virus gathering in two distinct clusters, including 27 HIV-1 C and 8 CRF17-BF subtypes, respectively. Both clusters were centralized in Rome, and their origin was estimated to have been after 2007. All individuals within both clusters were males and 37.1%of them had been recently-infected. While C-cluster was entirely composed by Italian men-whohavesex-with-men, with a median-age of 34 years (IQR:30-39), individuals in CRF17-BFcluster were older, with a median-age of 51 years (IQR:48-59) and almost all reported sexual-contacts with men and women. All carried R5-tropic viruses, with evidence of atypical or resistance amino-acidic mutations related to NNRTI-drugs (K103Q in C-cluster, and K101E+E138K in CRF17-BF-cluster). Conclusions: These two epidemiological clusters provided evidence of a strong and recent circulation of C and CRF17-BF strains in central Italy, characterized by NNRTI-related mutations among men engaging in high-risk behaviours. These findings underline the role of molecular epidemiology in identifying groups at increased risk of HIV-1 transmission, and in enhancing additional prevention efforts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)