The HIV Epidemic: High-Income Countries

SH Vermund, AJ Leigh Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The HIV epidemic in higher-income nations is driven by receptive anal intercourse, injection drug use through needle/syringe sharing, and, less efficiently, vaginal intercourse. Alcohol and noninjecting drug use increase sexual HIV vulnerability. Appropriate diagnostic screening has nearly eliminated blood/blood product-related transmissions and, with antiretroviral therapy, has reduced mother-to-child transmission radically. Affected subgroups have changed over time (e.g., increasing numbers of Black and minority ethnic men who have sex with men). Molecular phylogenetic approaches have established historical links between HIV strains from central Africa to those in the United States and thence to Europe. However, Europe did not just receive virus from the United States, as it was also imported from Africa directly. Initial introductions led to epidemics in different risk groups in Western Europe distinguished by viral clades/sequences, and likewise, more recent explosive epidemics linked to injection drug use in Eastern Europe are associated with specific strains. Recent developments in phylodynamic approaches have made it possible to obtain estimates of sequence evolution rates and network parameters for epidemics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCold spring harbor perspectives in medicine
Volume2
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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