HIV-1 subtype D (HIV-1D) progresses to disease faster and has lower transmissibility than subtype A (HIV-1A). We examined whether these differences could lead to a population level change in the distribution of these subtypes over time. HIV-1 viral RNA was extracted from stored serum samples from HIV-positive subjects participating in a population-based cohort study in Rakai, Uganda in 1994 and 2002. Portions of the viral proteins gag and gp41 were sequenced and subtyped. HIV-1 subtype assignments were generated for 773 subjects in 1994 and 812 subjects in 2002. The change in subtype distribution of the population as a whole as well as quartile age groups were examined for significant changes using a linear model. There was a significant decrease in the proportion of subjects infected with HIV-1D from 70.2% to 62.4% and a significant increase in subjects infected with HIV-1A from 16.7% to 23.3% over the 8-year period (p = 0.005). The most marked changes in proportion of HIV-1D and A were seen in the younger individuals (<25 and 25-30 years; p < 0.05). The percentages of subjects infected with HIV-1C and recombinant subtypes did not change significantly. Over this 8-year period, the overall viral population in this region evolved toward the less virulent HIV-1A strain, most likely as a consequence of the faster disease progression and lower transmissibility of HIV-1D.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases