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Phylogeography of HIV-1 suggests that Ugandan fishing communities are a sink for, not a source of, virus from general populations

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Original languageEnglish
Article number1051
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


Although fishing communities (FCs) in Uganda are disproportionately affected by HIV-1 relative to the general population (GP), the transmission dynamics are not completely understood. We earlier found most HIV-1 transmissions to occur within FCs of Lake Victoria. Here, we test the hypothesis that HIV-1 transmission in FCs is isolated from networks in the GP. We used phylogeography to reconstruct the geospatial viral migration patterns in 8 FCs and 2 GP cohorts and a Bayesian phylogenetic inference in BEAST v1.8.4 to analyse the temporal dynamics of HIV-1 transmission. Subtype A1 (pol region) was most prevalent in the FCs (115, 45.1%) and GP (177, 50.4%). More recent HIV transmission pairs from FCs were found at a genetic distance (GD) <1.5% than in the GP (Fisher’s exact test, p=0.001). The mean time depth for pairs was shorter in FCs (5 months) than in the GP (4 years). Phylogeographic analysis showed strong support for viral migration from the GP to FCs without evidence of substantial viral dissemination to the GP. This suggests that FCs are a sink for, not a source of, virus strains from the GP. Targeted interventions in FCs should be extended to include the neighbouring GP for effective epidemic control.

    Research areas

  • Molecular evolution, Viral epidemiology, Viral evolution, Viral transmission

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