HIV-1 prevalence in Guangxi, China, has been growing since 1996, when the first case was reported. Over half of HIV-1 positive patients in Guangxi Province were injecting drug users (IDUs), possibly because of the province's location near drug-trafficking routes. Since a phase II HIV vaccine trial is ongoing there, a current characterization of the subtypes of HIV-1 among IDUs in Guangxi would provide critical information for future HIV vaccine trials, as well as further control and prevention of HIV-1 transmission. Thus, we conducted a molecular epidemiological investigation of HIV-1 samples from 2008-2010 among IDUs in multiple cities in Guangxi Province. Our results, based on the gag/pol fragment, indicated a very high proportion (78.47%) of HIV-1 CRF08_BC recombinants, some CRF01_AE (15.38%) recombinants, and a low proportion of CRF07_BC (6.15%) recombinants among the IDUs. The high proportion of CRF08 HIV-1 strains among recent IDUs matches the vaccine candidate constructs. However, future vaccine development should also incorporate CRF01-targeted vaccine candidates. Distinct Env sequence evolution patterns were observed for CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE, indicating that different local selection pressures have been exerted on these two HIV-1 subtypes. Unique drug-resistant mutations were also detected, and our data indicate that HIV treatment programs should consider pre-existing drug-resistant mutations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas