Background: HIV subtypes A and CRF01_AE (A/AE) became prevalent in Israel, first through immigration of infected people, mostly intravenous-drug users (IVDU), from Former Soviet-Union (FSU) countries and then also by local spreading. We retrospectively studied virus-transmission patterns of these subtypes in comparison to the longer-established subtype B, evaluating in particular risk-group related differences. We also examined to what extent distinct drug-resistance patterns in subtypes A/AE versus B reflected differences in patient behavior and drug-treatment history. Methods: Reverse-transcriptase (RT) and protease sequences were retrospectively analyzed along with clinical and epidemiological data. MEGA, ClusalX, and Beast programs were used in a phylogenetic analysis to identify transmission networks. Results: 318 drug-naive individuals with A/AE or patients failing combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) were identified. 61% were IVDU. Compared to infected homosexuals, IVDU transmitted HIV infrequently and, typically, only to a single partner. 6.8% of drug-naive patients had drug resistance. Treatment-failing, regimen-stratified subtype-A/AE- and B-patients differed from each other significantly in the frequencies of the major resistance-conferring mutations T215FY, K219QE and several secondary mutations. Notably, failing boosted protease-inhibitors (PI) treatment was not significantly associated with protease or RT mutations in either subtype. Conclusions: While sizable transmission networks occur in infected homosexuals, continued HIV transmission among IVDU in Israel is largely sporadic and the rate is relatively modest, as is that of drug-resistance transmission. Deviation of drug-naive A/AE sequences from subtype-B consensus sequence, documented here, may subtly affect drug-resistance pathways. Conspicuous differences in overall drug-resistance that are manifest before regimen stratification can be largely explained in terms of treatment history, by the different efficacy/adherence limitations of older versus newer regimens. The phenomenon of treatment failure in boosted-PI-including regimens in the apparent absence of drug-resistance to any of the drugs, and its relation to adherence, require further investigation. © 2013 Avidor et al.
Avidor, B., Turner, D., Mor, Z., Chalom, S., Riesenberg, K., Shahar, E., … Grossman, Z. (2013). Transmission Patterns of HIV-Subtypes A/AE versus B: Inferring Risk-Behavior Trends and Treatment-Efficacy Limitations from Viral Genotypic Data Obtained Prior to and during Antiretroviral Therapy. PLoS ONE, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057789