Transmission Patterns in a Low HIV-Morbidity State — Wisconsin, 2014–2017
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Transmission Patterns in a Low HIV-Morbidity State — Wisconsin, 2014–2017

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
    • Description:
      Public health interviews (i.e., partner services), during which persons with diagnosed human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection name their sexual or needle-sharing partners (named partners), are used to identify HIV Transmission networks to guide and prioritize HIV Prevention activities. HIV sequence data, generated from provider-ordered drug resistance tTesting, can be used to understand characteristics of molecular clusters, a group of sequences for which each sequence is highly similar (linked) to all other sequences, and assess whether named partners are plausible HIV Transmission partners. Although molecular data in higher HIV-morbidity states have been analyzed (1-3), few analyses exist for lower morbidity states (4), such as Wisconsin, which reported 4.6 HIV diagnoses per 100,000 persons aged ≥13 years in 2016 (5). The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) analyzed HIV sequence data generated from provider-ordered drug resistance tTesting and collected through routine HIV Surveillance to identify molecular clusters and describe demographic and Transmission risk characteristics among pairs of persons whose sequences were highly genetically similar (i.e., molecular linkages). In addition, overlap between partner linkages identified during public health interviews and molecular linkages was assessed. Overall, characteristics of molecular clusters in Wisconsin mirrored those from states with more HIV diagnoses, particularly in that most molecular linkages were observed among persons of the same race (78.2% of non-Hispanic blacks [blacks] linked to other blacks), the same Transmission risk (90.2% of men who have sex with men [MSM] linked to other MSM), and the same age group (59.2% of persons aged 20-29 years linked to other persons aged 20-29 years). Among named partner linkages identified during interviews in which both persons also had a reported sequence, overlap of named partner and molecular linkages was moderate: 33.8% of named partners were plausible Transmission partners according to available molecular data. Analysis of HIV sequence data is a useful tool for characterizing Transmission patterns not immediately apparent using traditional public health interview data, even in a state with lower HIV morbidity. Prevention recommendations generated from national data (e.g., targeting preexposure prophylaxis for HIV-negative persons at high risk and implementing measures to maintain viral suppression among persons with HIV infection) also are relevant in a lower HIV-morbidity state.
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