Description of HIV-1 group M molecular epidemiology and drug resistance prevalence in Equatorial Guinea from migrants in Spain

Gonzalo Yebra, Miguel de Mulder, África Holguín

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BACKGROUND: The HIV epidemic is increasing in Equatorial Guinea (GQ), West Central Africa, but few studies have reported its HIV molecular epidemiology. We aimed to describe the HIV-1 group M (HIV-1M) variants and drug-resistance mutations in GQ using sequences sampled in this country and in Spain, a frequent destination of Equatoguinean migrants.

METHODS: We collected 195 HIV-1M pol sequences from Equatoguinean subjects attending Spanish clinics during 1997-2011, and 83 additional sequences sampled in GQ in 1997 and 2008 from GenBank. All (n = 278) were re-classified using phylogeny and tested for drug-resistance mutations. To evaluate the origin of CRF02_AG in GQ, we analyzed 2,562 CRF02_AG sequences and applied Bayesian MCMC inference (BEAST program).

RESULTS: Most Equatoguinean patients recruited in Spain were women (61.1%) or heterosexuals (87.7%). In the 278 sequences, the variants found were CRF02_AG (47.8%), A (13.7%), B (7.2%), C (5.8%), G (5.4%) and others (20.1%). We found 6 CRF02_AG clusters emerged from 1983.9 to 2002.5 with origin in GQ (5.5 sequences/cluster). Transmitted drug-resistance (TDR) rate among naïve patients attended in Spain (n = 144) was 4.7%: 3.4% for PI (all with M46IL), 1.8% for NRTI (all with M184V) and 0.9% for NNRTI (Y188L). Among pre-treated patients, 9/31 (29%) presented any resistance, mainly affecting NNRTI (27.8%).

CONCLUSIONS: We report a low (<5%) TDR rate among naïve, with PI as the most affected class. Pre-treated patients also showed a low drug-resistance prevalence (29%) maybe related to the insufficient treatment coverage in GQ. CRF02_AG was the prevalent HIV-1M variant and entered GQ through independent introductions at least since the early 1980s.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere64293
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2013


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Drug Resistance, Viral
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Female
  • HIV Infections
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Spain
  • Transients and Migrants
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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