HLA class I polymorphism is known to affect the rate of progression to AIDS after infection with HIV-1. Here we test the consistency of HLA-B allelic effects on progression to AIDS, heterosexual HIV transmission and ‘setpoint’ viral levels.
We used adjusted Cox proportional hazard models in previously published relative hazard (RH) values for the effect of HLA-B alleles on progression to AIDS (n=1089). The transmission study included 303 HIV-1-infected men with hemophilia and their 323 female sex partners (MHCS cohort). Among 259 HIV-1 seroconverters (MACS cohort), HIV RNA levels at ‘setpoint’ were determined in stored plasma samples by a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assay. HLA-B genotyping was performed by sequence-specific-oligonucleotide-hybridization and DNA sequencing.
Several HLA-B alleles showed consistent associations for AIDS risk, infectivity and ‘setpoint’ HIV RNA. HLA-B*35 was associated with more rapid progression to AIDS (RH 1.39; p = 0.008), greater infectivity (OR 3.14; p = 0.002), and higher HIV RNA (p = 0.01), whereas the presence of either B*27 or B*57 associated with slower progression to AIDS (B*27: RH 0.49, p < 0.001; B*57: RH 0.40, p <0.0001), less infectivity (OR 0.22 and 0.31, respectively, though not significant) and lower viral levels (p <0.0001). Importantly, HLA-B polymorphism in female partners was not associated with susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.
HLA-B polymorphisms that affect the risk of AIDS may also alter HIV-1 infectivity, probably through the common mechanism of viral control, but they do not appear to protect against infection in our cohort.
HIV; AIDS; HLA; viral load; HIV transmission; AIDS progression; MHC diversity
Identification of recent HIV-infections is important for describing the HIV epidemic and compiling HIV-RNA-setpoint data for future HIV intervention trials. We conducted a study to characterize recent infections, and HIV-RNA-setpoint within the adult population presenting at a voluntary counselling and testing centre (VCT) in southern Mozambique.
All adults attending the Manhiça District-Hospital VCT between April and October 2009 were recruited if they had at least one positive rapid HIV-serology test. Patients were screened for recent HIV-1 infection by BED-CEIA HIV-incidence test. Clinical examination, assessment of HIV-RNA and CD4 cell counts were performed at enrollment, 4 and 10 months.
Of the 492 participants included in this study, the prevalence of recent infections as defined by BED-CEIA test, CD4 counts >200 cells/µl and HIV-RNA >400 copies/mL, was 11.58% (57/492; 95% CI 8.89–14.74). Due to heterogeneity in HIV-RNA levels in recently infected patients, individuals were categorized as having “high” HIV-RNA load if their HIV-RNA level was above the median (4.98 log10 copies/mL) at diagnosis. The “high” HIV-RNA group sustained a significantly higher HIV-viral load at all visits with a median HIV-RNA setpoint of 5.22 log10 copies/mL (IQR 5.18–5.47) as compared to the median of 4.15 log10 copies/ml (IQR 3.37–4.43) for the other patients (p = 0.0001).
The low proportion of recent HIV-infections among HIV-seropositive VCT clients suggests that most of this population attends the VCT at later stages of HIV/AIDS. Characterization of HIV-RNA-setpoint may serve to identify recently infected individuals maintaining HIV viral load>5 log10 copies/mL as candidates for antiretroviral treatment as prevention interventions.
HIV-1 superinfection occurs at varying frequencies in different at risk populations. Though seroincidence is decreased, in the negative partner of HIV-discordant couples after joint testing and counseling in the Zambia Emory HIV Research Project (ZEHRP) cohort, the annual infection rate remains relatively high at 7-8%. Based on sequencing within the gp41 region of each partner's virus, 24% of new infections between 2004 and 2008 were the result of transmission from a non-spousal partner. Since these seroconvertors and their spouses have disparate epidemiologically-unlinked viruses, there is a risk of superinfection within the marriage. We have, therefore, investigated the incidence and viral origin of superinfection in these couples.
Superinfection was detected by heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA), degenerate base counting of the gp41 sequence, or by phylogenetic analysis of the longitudinal sequences. It was confirmed by full-length env single genome amplification and phylogenetic analysis. In 22 couples (44 individuals), followed for up to five years, three of the newly infected (initially HIV uninfected) partners became superinfected. In each case superinfection occurred during the first 12 months following initial infection of the negative partner, and in each case the superinfecting virus was derived from a non-spousal partner. In addition, one probable case of intra-couple HIV-1 superinfection was observed in a chronically infected partner at the time of his seroconverting spouse's initial viremia. Extensive recombination within the env gene was observed following superinfection.
In this subtype-C discordant couple cohort, superinfection, during the first year after HIV-1 infection of the previously negative partner, occurred at a rate similar to primary infection (13.6% [95% CI 5.2-34.8] vs 7.8% [7.1-8.6]). While limited intra-couple superinfection may in part reflect continued condom usage within couples, this and our lack of detecting newly superinfected individuals after one year of primary infection raise the possibility that immunological resistance to intra-subtype superinfection may develop over time in subtype C infected individuals.
In South Africa, poverty and the dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis underscore the need for prevention efforts for obesity. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence of obesity in a cohort of South African women and discuss the implications for public health practices.
A total of 5,495 HIV-negative women from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa enrolled in three microbicide trials during the period of 2002–2008 were categorised as normal weight (body mass index (BMI: 18.6-<25), overweight (BMI: 25-<30) or obese (BMI: 30+). Incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia and gonorrhoea were also estimated and compared by BMI groups. Combined data was analysed using STATA 10.0.
Approximately 70% of the sample population was classified as being overweight or obese. Older age and lack of education were determined to be significant predictors of obesity. Women who were 35 years or older were more than three times as likely to be overweight and more than 12 times as likely to be obese compared to the youngest group. The highest HIV and STI incidence rates were observed among those with BMI <25 kg/m2 (normal weight) compared to women with BMI more than 25 kg/m2 (8.1 and 19.8 per 100 person-year respectively, P<0.001, both).
Effective obesity prevention strategies are needed to re-formulate HIV prevention programmes by incorporating healthy diet and life style messages to target those who are at highest risk not just for HIV infection but also for non-communicable diseases.
Body mass index; Sexual risk behaviours; HIV; South Africa
We performed a whole-genome association study on HIV-1 viral load setpoint in an African American cohort (n=515), and an intronic SNP in the HLA-B gene showed one of the strongest associations. Using a subset of patients, we show that this SNP reflects the effect of the HLA-B*5703 allele, which shows a genome-wide significant association with HIV-1 VL setpoint (p=5.6×10−10). These analyses therefore confirm a member of the HLA-B*57 group of alleles as the most important common variant influencing viral load variation in African Americans, consistent with what is observed in individuals of European ancestry in which the most important common variant is HLA-B*5701.
HIV; viral load setpoint; host genetics; association study; HLA
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) viral setpoint during the disease-free interval has been strongly associated with future risk of disease progression. An awareness of the correlation between viral setpoint and HIV-1 genetic evolution over time is important in the understanding of viral dynamics and infection. We examined genetic diversity in HIV-1 CRF02_A/G-IbNG-infected seroincident women in Dakar, Senegal; determined whether a viral setpoint kinetic pattern existed for CRF02_A/G-IbNG during the disease-free interval; and correlated viral load level and diversity. Samples were drawn during the disease-free interval from consenting CRF02_A/G-IbNG-infected, antiretroviral therapy-naïve female commercial sex workers in Dakar, Senegal. Based on sequential plasma RNA values, low and high viral setpoint groups were established. Intrapatient diversity and divergence over time was determined from earlier and later time point DNA samples from each person. Most individuals followed the viral setpoint paradigm. For each 1|−|log10 copy/ml of plasma increase in viral load, intrapatient diversity increased by 1.4% (P = 0.028). A greater diversification rate was observed in the high viral setpoint group than in the low viral setpoint group (P = 0.01). Greater nucleotide (P = 0.015) and amino acid (P = 0.048) divergences and a greater nucleotide divergence rate (P = 0.03) were found in the high viral setpoint group. There was no difference between the groups in the ratio of the number of nonsynonymous substitutions per nonsynonymous site to the number of synonymous substitutions per synonymous site. The greater intrapatient diversity, divergence, and diversification rates observed in the high viral setpoint group supports the notion that diversity is driven by cycles of viral replication resulting in accumulated mutations. Recognizing diversity potential based on viral load levels in individuals may inform the design of vaccines and therapies.
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are innate immune sensors that are integral to resisting chronic and opportunistic infections. Mounting evidence implicates TLR polymorphisms in susceptibilities to various infectious diseases, including HIV-1. We investigated the impact of TLR single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on clinical outcome in a sero-incident cohort of HIV-1-infected volunteers.
We analyzed TLR SNPs in 201 antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-1 infected subjects from a longitudinal sero-incident cohort with regular follow-up intervals (median follow-up 4.2 years, interquartile range 4.4). Subjects were stratified into two groups according to either disease progression, defined as peripheral blood CD4+ T-cell decline over time, or peak and setpoint viral load.
Haplotype-tagging SNPs from TLR2, TLR3, TLR4, and TLR9 were detected by mass-array genotyping, and CD4+ T-cell counts and viral load measurements were determined prior to antiretroviral therapy initiation. The association of TLR haplotypes with viral load and rapid progression was assessed by multivariate regression models using age and sex as covariates.
Two TLR4 SNPs in strong linkage disequilibrium (1063A/G [D299G] and 1363C/T [T399I]) were more frequent among subjects with high peak viral load compared to low/moderate peak viral load (OR=6.65, 95% CI 2.19–20.46, P<0.001; adjusted P=0.002 for 1063A/G). In addition, a TLR9 SNP previously associated with slow progression was found less frequently among subjects with high viral setpoint compared to low/moderate setpoint (OR=0.29, 95% CI 0.13–0.65, P=0.003, adjusted P=0.04).
This study suggests a potentially new role for TLR4 polymorphisms in HIV-1 peak viral load and confirms a role for TLR9 polymorphisms in disease progression.
HIV-1; Innate Immunity; HIV genetics; HIV immunology; Single Nucleotide Polymorphism; Toll-Like Receptor 9; Toll-Like Receptor 4
We developed a heteroduplex mobility assay in the gag gene (gag HMA) for the identification of group M subtypes A to H. The assay covers the region coding for amino acid 132 of p24 to amino acid 20 of p7 (according to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 [HIV-1] ELI, 460 bp). The gag HMA was compared with sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of an evaluation panel of 79 HIV-1 group M isolates isolated from infected individuals from different geographic regions. Application of gag HMA in combination with env HMA on 252 HIV-1- positive plasma samples from Bénin, Cameroon, Kenya, and Zambia revealed a high prevalence of a variety of intersubtype recombinants in Yaoundé, Cameroon (53.8%); Kisumu, Kenya (26.8%); and Cotonou, Bénin (41%); no recombinants were identified among the samples from Ndola, Zambia. The AGIbNG circulating recombinant form, as determined by gag HMA, was found to be the most common intersubtype recombinant in Yaoundé (39.4%) and Cotonou (38.5%). Using a one-tube reverse transcriptase PCR protocol, this gag HMA in combination with env HMA is a useful tool for rapidly monitoring the prevalence of the various genetic subtypes as well as of recombinants of HIV-1. Moreover, this technology can easily be applied in laboratories in developing countries.
The evolution of plasma viral load after HIV infection has been described as reaching a setpoint, only to start rising again shortly before AIDS diagnosis. In contrast, CD4 T-cell count is considered to show a stable decrease. However, characteristics of marker evolution over time depend on the scale that is used to visualize trends. In reconsidering the setpoint theory for HIV RNA, we analyzed the evolution of CD4 T-cell count and HIV-1 RNA level from HIV seroconversion to AIDS diagnosis. Follow-up data were used from two cohort studies among homosexual men (N = 400), restricting to the period before highly active antiretroviral therapy became widely available (1984 until 1996). Individual trajectories of both markers were fitted and averaged, both from seroconversion onwards and in the four years preceding AIDS diagnosis, using a bivariate random effects model. Both markers were evaluated on a scale that is directly related to AIDS risk.
Individuals with faster AIDS progression had higher HIV RNA level six months after seroconversion. For CD4 T-cell count, this ordering was less clearly present. However, HIV RNA level and CD4 T-cell count showed qualitatively similar evolution over time after seroconversion, also when stratified by rate of progression to AIDS. In the four years preceding AIDS diagnosis, a non-significant change in HIV RNA increase was seen, whereas a significant biphasic pattern was present for CD4 T-cell decline.
HIV RNA level has more setpoint behaviour than CD4 T-cell count as far as the level shortly after seroconversion is concerned. However, with respect to the, clinically more relevant, marker evolution over time after seroconversion, a setpoint theory holds as much for CD4 T-cell count as for HIV RNA level.
The recent origin and great evolutionary potential of HIV imply that the virulence of the virus might still be changing, which could greatly affect the future of the pandemic. However, previous studies of time trends of HIV virulence have yielded conflicting results. Here we used an established methodology to assess time trends in the severity (virulence) of untreated HIV infections in a large Italian cohort. We characterized clinical virulence by the decline slope of the CD4 count (n = 1423 patients) and the viral setpoint (n = 785 patients) in untreated patients with sufficient data points. We used linear regression models to detect correlations between the date of diagnosis (ranging 1984–2006) and the virulence markers, controlling for gender, exposure category, age, and CD4 count at entry. The decline slope of the CD4 count and the viral setpoint displayed highly significant correlation with the date of diagnosis pointing in the direction of increasing virulence. A detailed analysis of riskgroups revealed that the epidemics of intravenous drug users started with an apparently less virulent virus, but experienced the strongest trend towards steeper CD4 decline among the major exposure categories. While our study did not allow us to exclude the effect of potential time trends in host factors, our findings are consistent with the hypothesis of increasing HIV virulence. Importantly, the use of an established methodology allowed for a comparison with earlier results, which confirmed that genuine differences exist in the time trends of HIV virulence between different epidemics. We thus conclude that there is not a single global trend of HIV virulence, and results obtained in one epidemic cannot be extrapolated to others. Comparison of discordant patterns between riskgroups and epidemics hints at a converging trend, which might indicate that an optimal level of virulence might exist for the virus.
The AIDS epidemic claims more lives per year than any other infectious disease, even though its cause, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is the youngest of all major human pathogens. The recent origin and great evolutionary potential of the virus raise the possibility that the virus might still be adapting to humans. Of primary interest is whether the virulence of the virus, i.e. its ability to cause disease, has been changing over time. Unfortunately, previous results have yielded conflicting results. We investigated time trends of virulence in the Italian HIV epidemic and found increasing virulence. The use of an established methodology allowed, for the first time, direct comparison with results obtained in other epidemics. The comparisons revealed that genuine differences exist in the trends of HIV virulence between different epidemics. Thus, there is no single time trend of HIV virulence worldwide. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis of increasing HIV virulence; however, clinical virulence combines viral and host factors, and the effect of host factors could not be excluded in our analysis.
Intersubtype HIV-1 recombinants in the form of unique or stable circulating recombinants forms (CRFs) are responsible for over 20% of infections in the worldwide epidemic. Mechanisms controlling the generation, selection, and transmission of these intersubtype HIV-1 recombinants still require further investigation. All intersubtype HIV-1 recombinants are generated and evolve from initial dual infections, but are difficult to identify in the human population. In vitro studies provide the most practical system to study mechanisms, but the recombination rates are usually very low in dual infections with primary HIV-1 isolates. This study describes the use of HIV-1 isolate-specific siRNAs to enrich intersubtype HIV-1 recombinants and inhibit the parental HIV-1 isolates from a dual infection.
Following a dual infection with subtype A and D primary HIV-1 isolates and two rounds of siRNA treatment, nearly 100% of replicative virus was resistant to a siRNA specific for an upstream target sequence in the subtype A envelope (env) gene as well as a siRNA specific for a downstream target sequence in the subtype D env gene. Only 20% (10/50) of the replicating virus had nucleotide substitutions in the siRNA-target sequence whereas the remaining 78% (39/50) harbored a recombination breakpoint that removed both siRNA target sequences, and rendered the intersubtype D/A recombinant virus resistant to the dual siRNA treatment. Since siRNAs target the newly transcribed HIV-1 mRNA, the siRNAs only enrich intersubtype env recombinants and do not influence the recombination process during reverse transcription. Using this system, a strong bias is selected for recombination breakpoints in the C2 region, whereas other HIV-1 env regions, most notably the hypervariable regions, were nearly devoid of intersubtype recombination breakpoints. Sequence conservation plays an important role in selecting for recombination breakpoints, but the lack of breakpoints in many conserved env regions suggest that other mechanisms are at play.
These findings show that siRNAs can be used as an efficient in vitro tool for enriching recombinants, to facilitate further study on mechanisms of intersubytpe HIV-1 recombination, and to generate replication-competent intersubtype recombinant proteins with a breadth in HIV-1 diversity for future vaccine studies.
For the rapid genetic analysis of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), we developed a heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA) that utilizes a PCR-amplified fragment of the FIV envelope gene spanning the third and fourth variable regions of the envelope surface protein coding sequence. Viral sequences were successfully amplified from blood specimens from 98 naturally infected cats from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Africa, and the United States. Eighty were clearly assignable to the A or B envelope sequence subtypes. Three belonged to subtype C, one was dually infected with viruses harboring the A and B env subtypes, and several were categorized as outliers to any of the established subtypes or as probable intersubtype recombinants. Some geographic clustering was evident, with subtypes A and B found in greater frequency in the western and eastern regions of the United States, respectively. Subtypes A, B, and C were found on more than one continent, and countries with more than two samples analyzed contained at least two subtypes. The broadest representation of subtypes was found in Munich, Germany, where three subtypes and one virus that was not classifiable by HMA were found. Thirteen samples were selected for DNA sequence determination over the same region of env used for HMA. Analysis of all available FIV env sequences from this and previous studies revealed the existence of recombinant viruses generated from subtype A/B, B/D, and A/C envelope gene sequences. Subtype A env sequences were less diverse than subtype B sequences, although both groups had well-supported clusters. Furthermore, the mutational pattern giving rise to diversification in the two subtypes differed, with the subtype A viruses showing half as many synonymous site mutations compared to subtype B yet showing similar levels of nonsynonymous site changes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that FIV-B is an older virus group and is possibly more host adapted than FIV-A.
High viral load (VL) setpoint is a marker for rapid HIV progression, but few studies have examined whether use of hormonal contraception (HC) prior to HIV seroconversion affects VL setpoint.
We determined VL setpoints in 285 HIV seroconverters using blood samples collected six months or more after estimated HIV seroconversion but before disease progression to CD4≤250 or WHO Stage 3 or 4. We used multivariate linear regression to estimate the effect of HC use prior to HIV seroconversion on VL setpoint, and multivariate Cox regression to estimate the hazards ratio of death associated with VL setpoint.
Of 285 women, 42 (15%) reported using HC prior to HIV seroconversion. Mean VL setpoint was 4.49 (SD 0.79) log10 copies/mL among women who used HC prior to HIV seroconversion and 4.47 (SD 0.86) among non-HC users (p=0.88). In multivariate analysis, HC prior to HIV seroconversion was not associated with VL setpoint (+0.11 log10 copies /mL; p=0.47). Higher socioeconomic status was associated with lower VL setpoint (-0.43 log10 copies/mL; p=0.04). VL setpoints above the median were associated with faster time to death (adjHR: 2.54, 95% CI: 1.30-4.98, p-value <0.01).
Use of HC prior to HIV seroconversion was not associated with elevated VL setpoint.
hormonal contraception; viral load setpoint; HIV progression; Uganda
DNA sequences encoding the C2 to V3 region of envelope glycoprotein gp120 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) were amplified by PCR from uncultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from 24 of 25 HIV-1-seropositive patients from Cyprus. By using a heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA), all amplified products were studied genetically and compared with 16 previously characterized HIV-1 strains belonging to subtypes A through F. HMA results revealed that HIV-1 gp120 sequences from 15 of our patients were of subtype B of HIV-1, whereas one isolate was of subtype C. However, gp120 sequences from eight patients had no obvious similarities to the known subtypes as defined by HMA. DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of molecular clones confirmed the HMA results and placed the eight undefined HIV-1 isolates into three distinct genetic clusters. On the basis of branch topology and lengths of the phylogenetic tree, we conclude that one group consisting of three clones from two patients represents a new HIV-1 env subtype, which we have termed subtype I. The remaining two sequence clusters, consisting of five sequences from four patients and two sequences from two other patients, are distally related to subtypes A and F. These data demonstrate the extensive heterogeneity of HIV-1 in Cyprus, including the presence of new subtype.
Current methods to detect intraclade HIV dual infection are poorly suited for determining its prevalence in large cohorts. To investigate the potential of ultra-deep sequencing to screen for dual infection, we compared it to bulk sequence-based synonymous mixture index and the current standard of single genome sequencing. The synonymous mixture index identified samples likely to harbor dual infection, while ultra-deep sequencing captured more intra-host viral diversity than single genome sequencing at approximately 40% of the cost and 20% of the laboratory and analysis time. The synonymous mixture index and ultra-deep sequencing are promising methods for rapid and cost-effective systematic identification of HIV dual infection.
We report the primary analysis of the safety and efficacy of the MRKad5 gag/pol/nef HIV-1 sub-type B vaccine in South Africa (SA), where the major circulating clade is sub-type C.
This phase IIb double-blind, randomized test-of-concept study was conducted in sexually active HIV-1 sero-negative participants in SA. The co-primary endpoints were a vaccine-induced reduction in HIV-1 acquisition or viral-load setpoint. These were assessed independently in the modified intent-to-treat (MITT) cohort with two-tailed significance tests stratified by gender. Immunogenicity was assessed by interferon-gamma (IFNγ) ELISPOT in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Following the lack of efficacy of the MRKAd5 HIV-1 vaccine in the Step study, enrollment and vaccination in this study was halted, treatment unblinding occurred and follow-up continued. This study is registered with the SA National Health Research Database (DOH-27-0207-1539) and ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00413725).
801 of a scheduled 3000 participants were enrolled, of whom 360 (44.9%) were women, more than half (55.6%) had Ad5 titres > 200, and almost a third (29.3%) of men were circumcised. 62 MITT participants were diagnosed with HIV-1, 34 in the vaccine arm and 28 in the placebo arm, with infection rates of 4.54 and 3.70 per 100 person-years, respectively. There was no evidence of vaccine efficacy (VE); the hazard ratio adjusted for gender was 1.25 (95% CI: 0.76, 2.05). VE did not differ by Ad5 titre, gender, age, HSV-2 status, or circumcision. The geometric mean viral load setpoint was 20,483 copies/ml (N=33) in vaccinees and 34,032 copies/ml (N=28) in placebo recipients (p=0.39). The vaccine elicited IFNγ-secreting T cells recognizing both clade B (89.2%) and C (77.4%) antigens.
The MRKAd5 HIV-1 vaccine did not prevent HIV-1 infection or lower viral-load setpoint however early stopping likely compromised our ability to draw conclusions. The high incidence rates seen in SA highlight the critical need for intensified efforts to develop an efficacious vaccine.
HIV; HIV vaccine efficacy studies; South Africa
Dual HIV-1/HIV-2 seropositivity (dual seropositivity) is common in West African countries including Ghana. The diagnosis of dual HIV-1/HIV-2 infections is however complicated as HIV-2 DNA is more often not detected in dual seropositive individuals.
To detect the presence of HIV-1 and HIV-2 pro-viral DNA in dual seropositives and to determine the correlation between HIV-2 antibody titers and presence of HIV-2 DNA. The growth kinetics of HIV-1 and HIV-2 in vitro were also determined using plasma and lymphocyte cultures.
Urban and semi-rural HIV/AIDS clinics
13 dual HIV-1/HIV-2 seropositives from Agomanya and Accra
HIV-1 DNA was detected in uncultured peripheral blood mononuclear cells of all 13 patients but HIV-2 DNA in 4 (30.8%). HIV-2 antibody titres were not useful in determining the presence or absence of HIV-2 DNA (P=0.28, Mann-Whitney U test). HIV-2 specific antibody was detected in 12 of the 13 dual seropositives by peptide-inhibition, the only patient with an Innolia gp36 band rating of 1+ was shown not to be reactive. HIV-2 grew efficiently in the presence or HIV-1 in vitro.
HIV-2 DNA may not be detected in all dual seropositives thus not all of such patients may need drugs effective against HIV-2. Peptide based assays will be useful for correctly diagnosing dual seropositivity. Since HIV-2 may grow efficiently in the presence of HIV-1 and no commercial HIV-2 HIV RNA tests are available, dual seropositives on HAART need to be monitored to determine if a lack of immune restoration may correspond to an efficient suppression of HIV-1 RNA levels.
HIV-1; HIV-2; dual; seropositivity; infection; Ghana
Elucidating virus-host interactions responsible for HIV-1 transmission is important for advancing HIV-1 prevention strategies. To this end, single genome amplification (SGA) and sequencing of HIV-1 within the context of a model of random virus evolution has made possible for the first time an unambiguous identification of transmitted/founder viruses and a precise estimation of their numbers. Here, we applied this approach to HIV-1 env analyses in a cohort of acutely infected men who have sex with men (MSM) and found that a high proportion (10 of 28; 36%) had been productively infected by more than one virus. In subjects with multivariant transmission, the minimum number of transmitted viruses ranged from 2 to 10 with viral recombination leading to rapid and extensive genetic shuffling among virus lineages. A combined analysis of these results, together with recently published findings based on identical SGA methods in largely heterosexual (HSX) cohorts, revealed a significantly higher frequency of multivariant transmission in MSM than in HSX [19 of 50 subjects (38%) versus 34 of 175 subjects (19%); Fisher's exact p = 0.008]. To further evaluate the SGA strategy for identifying transmitted/founder viruses, we analyzed 239 overlapping 5′ and 3′ half genome or env-only sequences from plasma viral RNA (vRNA) and blood mononuclear cell DNA in an MSM subject who had a particularly well-documented virus exposure history 3–6 days before symptom onset and 14–17 days before peak plasma viremia (47,600,000 vRNA molecules/ml). All 239 sequences coalesced to a single transmitted/founder virus genome in a time frame consistent with the clinical history, and a molecular clone of this genome encoded replication competent virus in accord with model predictions. Higher multiplicity of HIV-1 infection in MSM compared with HSX is consistent with the demonstrably higher epidemiological risk of virus acquisition in MSM and could indicate a greater challenge for HIV-1 vaccines than previously recognized.
Understanding the biology of sexual transmission of HIV-1 could contribute importantly to the development of effective prevention measures. However, different routes of virus transmission (vaginal, rectal, penile or oral) and inaccessibility of tissues at or near the time of virus transmission make this goal elusive. Here, we apply single genome amplification and sequencing of plasma HIV-1 and a model of random virus evolution to a cohort of acutely infected men who have sex with men (MSM) and find that MSM are twice as likely as heterosexuals to become infected by multiple viruses as opposed to a single virus. Some MSM subjects were infected by as many as 7 to 10 or more genetically distinct viruses as a consequence of a single exposure event. We go on to molecularly clone the first full-length transmitted/founder subtype B HIV-1 virus and show that it is highly replicative in human CD4+ T-cells but not macrophages. Our study provides the first comparative, quantitative analysis of the multiplicity of HIV-1 infection in the two primary risk groups—MSM and heterosexuals—driving the global pandemic, and we discuss the implications of the findings to HIV-1 vaccine development and prevention research.
The ability of a peptide-based serotyping assay to differentiate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) subtype B infections from non-subtype B infections was investigated with 166 anti-HIV-1- and HIV RNA-positive (by PCR) serum or plasma specimens. The specimens were divided genetically into those infected with subtype B and non-subtype B by application of a screening heteroduplex mobility assay (HMA) that used plasmids for subtypes A and B alone. Specimens that were not clearly infected with HIV-1 subtype B by HMA or for which the two methods had discordant results in distinguishing those infected with subtype B from those infected with non-subtype B were then investigated with a full HMA plasmid panel and, for selected specimens, env sequencing. For the 141 genotyped and serotypically reactive specimens, the correlation between genotyping and serotyping (all subtypes) was 69%. Of the 67 specimens that reacted monotypically as serotype B, 64 were shown to be infected with genotype B (positive predictive value, 96%). Of the 82 specimens that contained genotype B nucleic acid, 64 reacted monotypically as serotype B (sensitivity, 78%), and 4 specimens reacted with a single non-subtype B peptide; the viruses in 14 specimens could not be assigned a serotype. Initial screening results had indicated that 12 samples had results discordant between restricted HMA and serotyping. The V3 loop amino acids of the infecting HIV strains from the seven specimens with discordant serology results were analyzed. For five specimens discordance occurred when the amino acid sequence of the infecting virus closely resembled those of more than one consensus peptide antigen or when the observed V3 crown motif of the strain was atypical for the genetic subtype present. For the other two specimens no explanation for the discordance was identified. Five specimens gave unclear or discordant results in the initial HMA screen, but the results were resolved when the full plasmid panel was used. Serotyping, although of limited sensitivity, distinguishes between subtype B and non-subtype B infections with a high degree of specificity. However, it poorly differentiates the major non-subtype B subtypes, particularly subtypes A and C. When HIV-1 subtype B predominates, serological typing and/or subtype-restricted HMA screening usefully distinguishes between subtype B and non-subtype B infections.
We systematically evaluated multiple and recombinant infections in an HIV-infected population selected for vaccine trials. Seventy-nine HIV-1 infected persons in a clinical cohort study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were evaluated for 1 year. A combination of molecular screening assays and DNA sequencing showed 3 dual infections (3.8%), 6 recombinant infections (7.6%), and 70 (88.6%) infections involving single viral subtypes. In the three dual infections, we identified HIV-1 subtypes F and B, F and D, and B and D; in contrast, the single and recombinant infections involved only HIV-1 subtypes B and F. The recombinants had five distinct B/F mosaic patterns: Bgag-p17/Bgag-p24/Fpol/Benv, Fgag-p17/Bgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv, Bgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv, Bgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Benv, and Fgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv. No association was found between dual or recombinant infections and demographic or clinical variables. These findings indicate that dual and recombinant infections are emerging as an integral part of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Brazil and emphasize the heterogenous character of epidemics emerging in countries where multiple viral subtypes coexist.
Methods for identification of primary HIV infections seem increasingly important to understand pathogenesis, and to prevent transmission, which is particularly efficient during acute infection. Most current algorithms for HIV testing are based on detection of HIV antibodies and are unable to identify early infections before seroconversion. The efficiency of prospective cohorts, which is a standard approach for identifying primary HIV-1 infection, depends on a variety of epidemiological and cultural factors including HIV incidence and stigma and, not surprisingly, varies significantly in different geographical areas. We report a voluntary counseling and testing (VCT)-based approach to identifying primary HIV-1C infection that was developed as part of a primary HIV-1 subtype C infection study in Botswana. The referral strategy was based on: (1) collaboration with VCT centers at city clinics operated by the Ministry of Health; (2) partnering with the busiest non-government VCT center; (3) educating healthcare workers and the community about primary HIV infection; and (4) pairing with diverse VCT providers, including NGOs and private-sector organizations. Acute HIV-1 infections were defined by a negative HIV-1 serology combined with a positive HIV-1 RT-PCR test. Recent HIV-1 infections were identified by detuned EIA testing according to the classic STARTH algorithm. The VCT-based referral strategy resulted in the successful identification of 57 cases of acute and early HIV infection. A referral strategy of expanded VCT with viral RNA (Ribonucleic acid) testing to a national program in Botswana may be a promising approach for identification of primary HIV infections on a countrywide level. The program should offer VCT with viral RNA testing to the general public, facilitate proper counseling and risk reduction, and allow initiation of early HAART, and may reduce new viral transmissions.
HIV-1 subtype C; Acute infection; Recent infection; Primary infection; Southern Africa; Botswana
The Step Trial showed that the MRKAd5 HIV-1 subtype B Gag/Pol/Nef vaccine did not protect men from HIV infection or reduce setpoint plasma viral RNA (vRNA) levels but, unexpectedly, it did modestly enhance susceptibility to HIV infection in adenovirus type 5 (Ad5)-seropositive, uncircumcised men. As part of the process to understand the results of the Step Trial, we designed a study to determine whether rhesus macaques chronically infected with a host-range mutant Ad5 (Ad5hr) and then immunized with a replication defective Ad5 SIVmac239 Gag/Pol/Nef vaccine were more resistant or susceptible to SIV infection than unimmunized rhesus macaques challenged with a series of escalating dose penile exposures to SIVmac 251. The Ad5 SIV vaccine induced CD8+ T cell responses in 70% of the monkeys, which is similar to the proportion of humans that responded to the vaccine in the Step Trial. However, the vaccine did not protect vaccinated animals from penile SIV challenge. At the lowest SIV exposure dose (103 50% tissue culture infective doses), 2 of 9 Ad5-seropositive animals immunized with the Ad5 SIV vaccine became infected compared to 0 of 34 animals infected in the other animal groups (naive animals, Ad5-seropositive animals immunized with the empty Ad5 vector, Ad5-seronegative animals immunized with the Ad5 SIV vaccine, and Ad5-seronegative animals immunized with the empty Ad5 vector). Penile exposure to more concentrated virus inocula produced similar rates of infection in all animal groups. Although setpoint viral loads were unaffected in Step vaccinees, the Ad5 SIV-immunized animals had significantly lower acute-phase plasma vRNA levels compared to unimmunized animals. Thus, the results of the nonhuman primate (NHP) study described here recapitulate the lack of protection against HIV acquisition seen in the Step Trial and suggest a greater risk of infection in the Ad5-seropositive animals immunized with the Ad5 SIV vaccine. Further studies are necessary to confirm the enhancement of virus acquisition and to discern associated mechanisms.
Targeting canarypox (CP)-HIV vaccine to dendritic cells (DCs) elicits anti-HIV-1 immune responses in vitro. We conducted a phase I/II clinical trial to evaluate whether adding DC to a CP-HIV vaccine improved virologic control during analytic treatment interruption (ATI) in HIV-1-infected subjects. Twenty-nine subjects on suppressive antiretroviral therapy were randomized to vaccination with autologous DCs infected with CP-HIV + keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) (arm A, n = 14) or CP-HIV + KLH alone (arm B, n = 15). The mean viral load (VL) setpoint during ATI did not differ between subjects in arms A and B. A higher percentage of subjects in the DC group had a VL setpoint <5000 c/mL during ATI (4/13 or 31% in arm A compared with 0/13 in arm B, p = 0.096), but virologic control was transient. Subjects in arm A had a greater increase in KLH lymphoproliferative response than subjects in arm B; however, summed ELISPOT responses to HIV-1 antigens did not differ by treatment arm. We conclude that a DC-CP-HIV vaccine is well-tolerated in HIV-1-infected patients, but does not lower VL setpoint during ATI compared with CP-HIV alone. New methods to enhance the immunogenicity and antiviral efficacy of DC-based vaccines for HIV-1 infection are needed.
HIV-1; Dendritic cells; Canarypox; Therapeutic vaccine; Clinical trial
The prevalence of HIV infection and the incidence of AIDS are higher among prison inmates compared to the general population. Although African Americans and Hispanics constitute approximately 13% and 12.5% of the population, respectively, they are over-represented among the prison population. The current trend in the adult/adolescent AIDS cases among African Americans and Hispanics outpaces that of the white population. The sociodemographic data of HIV/AIDS looks similar to the sociodemographics of U.S. prisons. This suggests that there may be a link between HIV transmission in prison and the current AIDS epidemic in the community. In addition, this high incidence is also a reflection of the high-risk lifestyle of the incarcerated population. High-risk behavior common among the incarcerated and inner city minority communities includes injection drug use, sharing of drugs and drug paraphernalia, and multiple sex partners. HIV transmission risk-reduction efforts such as mandatory screening of inmates, preventive HIV/AIDS education, and appropriate and adequate therapeutic management are essential to curtail the epidemic. However, any HIV/AIDS reduction program for minority communities must include culturally sensitive interventions.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the aetiological agent for cervical cancer and genital warts. Concurrent HPV and HIV infection in the South African population is high. HIV positive (+) women are often infected with multiple, rare and undetermined HPV types. Data on HPV incidence and genotype distribution are based on commercial HPV detection kits, but these kits may not detect all HPV types in HIV + women. The objectives of this study were to (i) identify the HPV types not detected by commercial genotyping kits present in a cervical specimen from an HIV positive South African woman using next generation sequencing, and (ii) determine if these types were prevalent in a cohort of HIV-infected South African women.
Total DNA was isolated from 109 cervical specimens from South African HIV + women. A specimen within this cohort representing a complex multiple HPV infection, with 12 HPV genotypes detected by the Roche Linear Array HPV genotyping (LA) kit, was selected for next generation sequencing analysis. All HPV types present in this cervical specimen were identified by Illumina sequencing of the extracted DNA following rolling circle amplification. The prevalence of the HPV types identified by sequencing, but not included in the Roche LA, was then determined in the 109 HIV positive South African women by type-specific PCR.
Illumina sequencing identified a total of 16 HPV genotypes in the selected specimen, with four genotypes (HPV-30, 74, 86 and 90) not included in the commercial kit. The prevalence’s of HPV-30, 74, 86 and 90 in 109 HIV positive South African women were found to be 14.6%, 12.8%, 4.6% and 8.3% respectively.
Our results indicate that there are HPV types, with substantial prevalence, in HIV positive women not being detected in molecular epidemiology studies using commercial kits. The significance of these types in relation to cervical disease remains to be investigated.
Human papillomavirus; Human immunodeficiency virus; Next generation sequencing; Rolling circle amplification