Molecular epidemiological analysis of HIV in sexual networks in Uganda

DL Yirrell, H Pickering, G Palmarini, L Hamilton, A Rutemberwa, B Biryahwaho, J Whitworth, AJ Leigh Brown

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Objective: To investigate the suitability of HIV sequence analysis, based on the p17 region of the gag gene, to characterize the sexual networks in and around a trading town in south-west Uganda. Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 54 HIV-seropositive members of three distinct sexual networks and phylogenetic analysis carried out on proviral DNA sequences obtained from the p17 region of gag from 53 individuals. Results: Despite documented evidence of very little sexual mixing between residents of the trading town, fishing village and surrounding rural area, there was no evidence of clustering of sequences associated with place of residence. More strikingly, known sexual partners failed to show significantly related sequences, and the two pairs of sequences that did show significant similarity came from individuals who had no known social or sexual contact. Conclusions: Sequence analyses such as those described here have proved effective in confirming or identifying epidemiological links not only following single transmission events but also within risk groups. However, the results from Uganda contrast markedly with those from Europe and the United States. The length of time that the community has been infected, the number of occasions when the virus has been introduced and the high degree of partner change may contribute to the lack of supportive evidence for sociological studies of sexual networks in Uganda.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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