We have investigated the genetic diversity and potential mosaic genomes of HIV-1 during the early part of the HIV-1 epidemic among commercial sex workers (CSWs) in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Serologic analysis revealed that 27 (28.7%) of the 94 specimens were seropositive by both peptide and whole-virus lysate EIAs and that 24 were positive by molecular screening assays, using generic primers that can detect all known groups of HIV-1. Phylogenetic analyses of the gagp24, C2V3, and gp41 regions of these 24 specimens showed that all were group M; none of them had any evidence of group O, N, or SIVcpz-like sequences. On the basis of env sequence analysis, the 24 group M specimens were classified as subtypes G (37.5%), A (21%), F1 (12.5%), CRF01_AE (8%), D (4%), and H (4%); 3 (12.5%) were unclassifiable (U). Similar analysis of the gagp24 region revealed that the majority of infections were subtype A; however, onethird of the specimens were subtype G. Parallel analysis of gagp24 and env regions revealed discordant sub-types in many specimens that may reflect possible dual and/or recombinant viruses. These data suggest a predominance of subtype G (both pure G and recombinant CRF02_AG) during the early part of the epidemic in Kinshasa. Infections with group N or SIVcpz-like viruses were not present among these CSWs in Kinshasa.
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