Most HIV type 1 non-B infections in the Spanish cohort of antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-infected patients (CoRIS) are due to recombinant viruses

J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Feb;50(2):407-13. doi: 10.1128/JCM.05798-11. Epub 2011 Dec 7.


HIV-1 group M is classified into 9 subtypes, as well as recombinants favored by coinfection and superinfection events with different variants. Although HIV-1 subtype B is predominant in Europe, intersubtype recombinants are increasing in prevalence and complexity. In this study, phylogenetic analyses of pol sequences were performed to detect the HIV-1 circulating and unique recombinant forms (CRFs and URFs, respectively) in a Spanish cohort of antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-infected patients included in the Research Network on HIV/AIDS (CoRIS). Bootscanning and other methods were used to define complex recombinants not assigned to any subtype or CRF. A total of 670 available HIV-1 pol sequences from different patients were collected, of which 588 (87.8%) were assigned to HIV-1 subtype B and 82 (12.2%) to HIV-1 non-B variants. Recombinants caused the majority (71.9%) of HIV-1 non-B infections and were found in 8.8% of CoRIS patients. Eleven URFs (accounting for 13.4% of HIV-1 non-B infections), presenting complex mosaic patterns, were detected. Among them, 10 harbored subtype B fragments. Four of the 11 URFs were found in Spanish natives. A cluster of three B/CRF02_AG recombinants was detected. We conclude that complex variants, including unique recombinant forms, are being introduced into Spain through both immigrants and natives. An increase in the frequency of mosaic viruses, reflecting the increasing heterogeneity of the HIV epidemic in our country, is expected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HIV-1 / classification*
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phylogeny
  • Prospective Studies
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • pol Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics


  • RNA, Viral
  • pol Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus