Intercontinental dispersal of HIV-1 subtype B associated with transmission among men who have sex with men in Japan

on behalf of the UK Collaborative Group on HIV Drug Resistance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transmission clusters of HIV-1 subtype B uniquely associated with the epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) in East Asia have recently been identified. Using the Los Alamos HIV sequence database and the UK HIV drug resistance database, we explored possible links between HIV MSM epidemics in East Asia and the rest of the world by using phylogenetic and molecular clock analyses. We found that JP.MSM.B-1, a subtype B MSM variant that accounts for approximately one-third of the infections among Japanese MSM, was detected worldwide, in the United Kingdom (n=13), mainland China (n=3), the United States, Germany, Canada, and Taiwan (n=1 each). Interestingly, 10 United Kingdom samples plus two from Germany and the United States formed a distinct monophyletic subgroup within JP.MSM.B-1. The estimated divergence times of JP.MSM.B-1 and the latter subgroup were ~1989 and ~1999, respectively. These dates suggest that JP.MSM.B-1 was circulating for many years in Japan among MSM before disseminating to other countries, most likely through global MSM networks. A significant number of other Asian MSM HIV lineages were also detected in the UK HIV drug resistance database. Our study provides insight into the regional and global dispersal of Asian MSM HIV lineages. Further study of these strains is warranted to elucidate viral migration and the interrelationship of HIV epidemics on a global scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9864-9876
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number17
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2014

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