Non-B variants of HIV-1 in San Francisco, California.
The HIV-1 epidemic in the US has historically been dominated by subtype B. HIV subtype diversity has not been extensively examined in most US cities to determine whether non-B variants have become established, as has been observed in many other global regions. We describe the diversity of non-B variants and present evidence of local transmission of non-B HIV in San Francisco. Viral sequences collected from patients between 2000 and 2016 were matched to the San Francisco HIV/AIDS case registry. HIV subtype was determined using COMET. Phylogenies were reconstructed using the pol region of subtypes A, C, D, G, CRF01_AE, CRF02_AG, and CRF07_BC, with reference sequences from the LANL HIV database. Associations of non-B subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) with patient characteristics were assessed using multivariable logistic regression. Out of 11,381 sequences, 10,669 were from 7235 registry cases, of which 141 (2%) had non-B subtypes and CRFs and 72 (1%) had unique recombinant forms. CRF01_AE (0.8%) and subtype C (0.5%) were the most prevalent non-B forms. The frequency of non-B subtypes and CRFs increased in San Francisco during years 2000-2016. Out of 146 transmission events involving non-B study sequences, 18% indicated local transmission within the study population and 74% appeared to be inward migration of the virus. Compared to 7016 cases with only subtype B, 141 cases with non-B sequences were more likely to be of non-US country of birth (aOR = 11.02; p < 0.001), of Asian/Pacific-Islander race/ethnicity (aOR = 3.17; p < 0.001), and diagnosed after 2009 (aOR = 4.81; p < 0.001). Results suggest that most non-B infections were likely acquired outside the US and that local transmission of non-B forms has occurred but so far has not produced extensive transmission networks. Thus, non-B variants were not widely established in San Francisco, an observation that differs from cities worldwide with more diverse epidemics.Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.