PloS one 2017 02 0812(2) e0171481 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0171481
New human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) diagnoses are increasing rapidly in Hebei. The aim of this study presents the most extensive HIV-1 molecular epidemiology investigation in Hebei province in China thus far. We have carried out the most extensive systematic cross-sectional study based on newly diagnosed HIV-1 positive individuals in 2013, and characterized the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 based on full length gag-partial pol gene sequences in the whole of Hebei. Nine HIV-1 genotypes based on full length gag-partial pol gene sequence were identified among 610 newly diagnosed naïve individuals. The four main genotypes were circulating recombinant form (CRF)01_AE (53.4%), CRF07_BC (23.4%), subtype B (15.9%), and unique recombinant forms URFs (4.9%). Within 1 year, three new genotypes (subtype A1, CRF55_01B, CRF65_cpx), unknown before in Hebei, were first found among men who have sex with men (MSM). All nine genotypes were identified in the sexually contracted HIV-1 population. Among 30 URFs, six recombinant patterns were revealed, including CRF01_AE/BC (40.0%), CRF01_AE/B (23.3%), B/C (16.7%), CRF01_AE/C (13.3%), CRF01_AE/B/A2 (3.3%) and CRF01_AE/BC/A2 (3.3%), plus two potential CRFs. This study elucidated the complicated characteristics of HIV-1 molecular epidemiology in a low HIV-1 prevalence northern province of China and revealed the high level of HIV-1 genetic diversity. All nine HIV-1 genotypes circulating in Hebei have spread out of their initial risk groups into the general population through sexual contact, especially through MSM. This highlights the urgency of HIV prevention and control in China.