The global transmission network of HIV-1

Joel O Wertheim, Andrew J Leigh Brown, N Lance Hepler, Sanjay R Mehta, Douglas D Richman, Davey M Smith, Sergei L Kosakovsky Pond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is pandemic, but its contemporary global transmission network has not been characterized. A better understanding of the properties and dynamics of this network is essential for surveillance, prevention, and eventual eradication of HIV. Here, we apply a simple and computationally efficient network-based approach to all publicly available HIV polymerase sequences in the global database, revealing a contemporary picture of the spread of HIV-1 within and between countries. This approach automatically recovered well-characterized transmission clusters and extended other clusters thought to be contained within a single country across international borders. In addition, previously undescribed transmission clusters were discovered. Together, these clusters represent all known modes of HIV transmission. The extent of international linkage revealed by our comprehensive approach demonstrates the need to consider the global diversity of HIV, even when describing local epidemics. Finally, the speed of this method allows for near-real-time surveillance of the pandemic's progression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-313
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Early online date22 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • transmission network
  • molecular epidemiology


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