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Review
, 3 (1), 22-7

Travel and the Spread of HIV-1 Genetic Variants

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Review

Travel and the Spread of HIV-1 Genetic Variants

Luc Perrin et al. Lancet Infect Dis.

Abstract

HIV-1 comprises three groups, the main (M group), O (outlier) and N (non-M, non-O). The M group, divided into 11 subtypes, is responsible for the global HIV-1 pandemic. Recombination between M subtypes has resulted in the generation of multiple circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) consisting of mosaic lineages. Most subtypes and CRFs are represented in Africa, whereas predominance of one or a few subtypes was reported initially elsewhere. This finding reflects the African origin of the epidemic. In western countries, where the B subtype is predominant, there is a steep increase in non B-subtypes and CRFs, while new recombinants emerge worldwide. Travellers contribute to the spread of HIV-1 genetic diversity worldwide, and in the developing world migration of rural populations and civil war are additional contributing factors. The spreading of HIV-1 variants has implications for diagnostic, treatment, and vaccine development.

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