Drivers of HIV-1 transmission: the Portuguese case

AC Pineda-Peña, Marta Pingarilho, Guangdi Li, Bram Vrancken, Pieter Libin, Perpétua Gomes, Ricardo Jorge Camacho, Kristof Theys, AB Abecasis, Portuguese HIV-1 Resistance Study Group

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Portugal has one of the most severe HIV-1 epidemics in Western Europe. Two subtypes circulate in parallel since the beginning of the epidemic. Comparing their transmission patterns and its association with transmitted drug resistance (TDR) is important to pinpoint transmission hotspots and to develop evidence-based treatment guidelines.
Demographic, clinical and genomic data were collected from 3599 HIV-1 naive patients between 2001 and 2014. Sequences obtained from drug resistance testing were used for subtyping, TDR determination and transmission clusters (TC) analyses.
In Portugal, transmission of subtype B was significantly associated with young males, while transmission of subtype G was associated with older heterosexuals. In Portuguese originated people, there was a decreasing trend both for prevalence of subtype G and for number of TCs in this subtype. The active TCs that were identified (i.e. clusters originated after 2008) were associated with subtype B-infected males residing in Lisbon. TDR was significantly different when comparing subtypes B (10.8% [9.5-12.2]) and G (7.6% [6.4-9.0]) (p = 0.001).
TC analyses shows that, in Portugal, the subtype B epidemic is active and fueled by young male patients residing in Lisbon, while transmission of subtype G is decreasing. Despite similar treatment rates for both subtypes in Portugal, TDR is significantly different between subtypes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0218226
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2019


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