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A Comprehensive Mapping of HIV-1 Genotypes in Various Risk Groups and Regions across China Based on a Nationwide Molecular Epidemiologic Survey
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  • Alternative Title:
    PLoS ONE
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    Background China is experiencing a dynamic HIV/AIDS epidemic. While serology based surveillance systems have reported the spread of HIV/AIDS, detailed tracking of its transmission in populations and regions is not possible without mapping it at the molecular level. We therefore conducted a nationwide molecular epidemiology survey across the country. Methods HIV-1 genotypes were determined from 1,408 HIV-positive persons newly diagnosed in 2006. The prevalence of each genotype was estimated by weighting the genotype’s prevalence from each province- and risk-specific subpopulation with the number of reported cases in the corresponding subgroups in that year. Results CRF07_BC (35.5%), CRF01_AE (27.6%), CRF08_BC (20.1%), and subtype B' (9.6%) were the four main HIV-1 strains in China. CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were the primary drivers of infection among injecting drug users in northeastern and southeastern China, respectively, and subtype B' remained dominant among former plasma donors in central China. In contrast, all four strains occurred in significant proportions among heterosexuals nationwide, pointing to an expansion of the HIV-1 epidemic from high-risk populations into the general population. CRF01_AE also replaced subtype B as the principal driver of infection among men-who-have-sex-with-men. Conclusions Our study provides the first comprehensive baseline data on the diversity and characteristics of HIV/AIDS epidemic in China, reflecting unique region- and risk group-specific transmission dynamics. The results provide information critical for designing effective prevention measures against HIV transmission.
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