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Comprehensive Characterization of HIV-1 Molecular Epidemiology and Demographic History in the Brazilian Region Most Heavily Affected by AIDS.

Comprehensive Characterization of HIV-1 Molecular Epidemiology and Demographic History in the Brazilian Region Most Heavily Affected by AIDS.
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Gräf T, Machado Fritsch H, de Medeiros RM, Maletich Junqueira D, Esteves de Matos Almeida S, Pinto AR,


Gräf T, Machado Fritsch H, de Medeiros RM, Maletich Junqueira D, Esteves de Matos Almeida S, Pinto AR, (click to view)

Gräf T, Machado Fritsch H, de Medeiros RM, Maletich Junqueira D, Esteves de Matos Almeida S, Pinto AR,

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Journal of virology 2016 08 2690(18) 8160-8 doi 10.1128/JVI.00363-16

Abstract
UNLABELLED
The high incidence of AIDS cases and the dominance of HIV-1 subtype C infections are two features that distinguish the HIV-1 epidemic in the two southernmost Brazilian states (Rio Grande do Sul [RS] and Santa Catarina [SC]) from the epidemic in other parts of the country. Nevertheless, previous studies on HIV molecular epidemiology were conducted mainly in capital cities, and a more comprehensive understanding of factors driving this unique epidemic in Brazil is necessary. Blood samples were collected from individuals in 13 municipalities in the Brazilian southern region. HIV-1 env and pol genes were submitted to phylogenetic analyses for assignment of subtype, and viral population phylodynamics were reconstructed by applying Skygrid and logistic coalescent models in a Bayesian analysis. A high prevalence of subtype C was observed in all sampled locations; however, an increased frequency of recombinant strains was found in RS, with evidence for new circulating forms (CRFs). In the SC state, subtype B and C epidemics were associated with distinct exposure groups. Although logistic models estimated similar growth rates for HIV-1 subtype C (HIV-1C) and HIV-1B, a Skygrid plot reveals that the former epidemic has been expanding for a longer time. Our results highlight a consistent expansion of HIV-1C in south Brazil, and we also discuss how heterosexual and men who have sex with men (MSM) transmission chains might have impacted the current prevalence of HIV-1 subtypes in this region.

IMPORTANCE
The AIDS epidemic in south Brazil is expanding rapidly, but the circumstances driving this condition are not well known. A high prevalence of HIV-1 subtype C was reported in the capital cities of this region, in contrast to the subtype B dominance in the rest of the country. This study sought to comparatively investigate the HIV-1 subtype B and C epidemics by sampling individuals from several cities in the two states with the highest AIDS incidences in Brazil. Our analyses showed distinct epidemic growth curves for the two epidemics, and we also found evidence suggesting that separate transmission chains may be impacting the viral phylodynamics and the emergence of new recombinant forms.

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