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The increasing genetic diversity of HIV-1 in the UK, 20022010

The UK Collaborative Group on HIV Drug Resistance

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000119
Epidemiology and Social

Objective: HIV-1 is typically categorized by genetically distinct viral subtypes. Viral subtypes are usually compartmentalized by ethnicity and transmission group and, thus, convey important epidemiological information, as well as possibly influencing the rate of disease progression. We aim to describe the prevalence and time trends of subtypes observed among key populations living with HIV-1 in the UK.

Design: Analyses of reverse transcriptase and protease sequences generated from HIV-1-positive antiretroviral-naive patients as part of routine resistance testing between 2002 and 2010 in all public health and NHS laboratories in the UK.

Methods: Subtype was assigned centrally using the SCUEAL algorithm. Subtyping results were combined with data from the UK Collaborative HIV Cohort Study and the UK HIV and AIDS Reporting System. Analyses adjusted for the number of national HIV-1 diagnoses made each year within demographic subgroups. Viral subtypes were described overall, over time and by demographic subgroup.

Results: Subtype B diagnoses (39.9%) have remained stable since 2005, whereas subtype C diagnoses (34.3%) were found to decline in prevalence from 2004. Across most demographic subgroups, the prevalence of non-B non-C subtypes has increased over time, in particular novel recombinant forms (9.9%), subtype G (2.7%), and CRF01 AE (2.0%).

Conclusion: HIV-1 subtypes are increasingly represented across all demographic subgroups and this could be evidence of sexual mixing. Between 2002 and 2010, the prevalence of novel recombinant forms has increased in all demographic subgroups. This increasing genetic diversity and the effect of subtype on disease progression may impact future HIV-1 treatment and prevention.

Medical Research Council, London, UK.

Correspondence to Professor David Dunn, MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL, 125 Kingsway, Aviation House, London, WC2B 6NH, UK. E-mail: d.dunn@ucl.ac.uk

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Received July 2, 2013

Accepted October 18, 2013

© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.