The molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 among male sex workers in northern Thailand

Chris Beyrer, Andrew Artenstein, Piyada Kunawararak, Thomas VanCott, Carl Mason, Kittipong Rungreungthanakit, Patricia Hegerich, Kenrad E. Nelson, Chirasak Khamboonruang, Chawalit Natpratan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Male commercial sex workers (CSWs) in northern Thailand are at high risk for HIV-1 infection and may be exposed to multiple subtypes of HIV-1 through sexual contact with men and women from Thailand, other Asian nations, and the West. We studied 103 male Thai nationals working in gay bars and clubs in Chiang Mai city who participated in the 1994 sentinel surveillance of the Thai Ministry of Public Health using HIV serologic testing, DNA polymerase chain reaction methods, molecular cloning, differential colony hybridization, nucleotide sequencing, and a third hypervariable region (V3) peptide enzyme- linked immunoabsorbent assay to differentiate subjects infected with HIV-1 subtypes B, E, both, or neither. The majority (58%) reported heterosexual orientation, and 35 (34%) were married. Seventeen (16.5%) were HIV infected: 16 (94%) of 17 had HIV-1 subtype E; 1 had HIV-1 subtype B. Two subjects had dually reactive results by molecular techniques but colony hybridization sequencing revealed only HIV-1 subtype E. HIV-1 subtype E appears to be the predominant clade among male CSWs in northern Thailand. This may have important implications for the global kinetics of the HIV epidemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)304-307
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1997


  • Epidemiology
  • HIV subtype
  • Prostitution
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Virology


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