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1.  HIV Type 1 Polymerase Gene Polymorphisms Are Associated With Phenotypic Differences in Replication Capacity and Disease Progression 
Background. Determinants of intersubtype differences in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) clinical disease progression remain unknown.
Methods. HIV-1 subtype was independently determined for 5 separate genomic regions in 396 HIV-1 seroconverters from Rakai, Uganda, using a multiregion hybridization assay. Replication capacities (RC) in samples from a subset of 145 of these subjects were determined. HIV-1 genomic regions and pol RC were examined for association with disease progression. Amino acid polymorphisms were examined for association with pol RC.
Results. In multivariate analyses, the hazard for progression to the composite end point (defined as a CD4+ T-cell count <250 cells/mm3, antiretroviral therapy initiation, or death) among patients with subtype D pol infection was 2.4 times the hazard for those infected with subtype A pol infection (P = .001). Compared with subtype A pol (the reference group), the hazard for progression to the composite end point for subtype D pol infection with a pol RC >67% (ie, the median pol RC) was significantly greater (HR, 4.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–11.0; P = .001), whereas the hazard for progression to the composite end point for subtype D pol infection with a pol RC ≤67% was not significantly different (HR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.0–4.9; P = .051). Amino acid substitutions at protease positions 62 and 64 and at reverse transcriptase position 272 were associated with significant differences in pol RC.
Conclusions. HIV-1 pol gene intersubtype and RC differences are associated with disease progression and may be influenced by amino acid polymorphisms.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit425
PMCID: PMC3864385  PMID: 23922373
HIV-1 Subtype; subtype A; subtype D; disease progression; polymerase; replication capacity; amino acid polymorphisms
2.  High Frequency of False-Positive Hepatitis C Virus Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay in Rakai, Uganda 
The prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in sub-Saharan Africa remains unclear. We tested 1000 individuals from Rakai, Uganda, with the Ortho version 3.0 HCV enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All serologically positive samples were tested for HCV RNA. Seventy-six of the 1000 (7.6%) participants were HCV antibody positive; none were confirmed by detection of HCV RNA.
doi:10.1093/cid/cit602
PMCID: PMC3840403  PMID: 24051866
hepatitis C virus; ELISA; Africa
3.  Characterization of HIV-1 envelopes in acutely and chronically infected injection drug users 
Retrovirology  2014;11(1):106.
Background
Mucosally acquired human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection results from a limited number of variants, and these infecting strains potentially have unique properties, such as increased susceptibility to entry blockers, relative interferon-alpha (IFN-α) resistance, and replication differences in some primary cells. There is no data about the phenotypic properties of HIV-1 envelope variants found early after acquisition among subjects infected through injection drug use (IDU). For the first time, we compared the characteristics of virus envelopes among injection drug users sampled prior to seroconversion (HIV RNA+/Ab-), within 1 year (early), and more than 2 years (chronic) after estimated acquisition.
Results
Virus envelopes from 7 HIV RNA+/Ab- subjects possessed lower genetic diversity and divergence compared to 7 unrelated individuals sampled during the chronic phase of disease. Replication competent recombinant viruses incorporating the HIV RNA+/Ab- as compared to the chronic phase envelopes were significantly more sensitive to a CCR5 receptor inhibitor and IFN-α and showed a statistical trend toward greater sensitivity to a fusion blocker. The early as compared to chronic infection envelopes also demonstrated a statistical trend or significantly greater sensitivity to CCR5 and fusion inhibitor and IFN- α. The HIV RNA+/Ab- as compared to chronic envelope viruses replicated to a lower extent in mature monocyte derived dendritic cells – CD4+ T cell co-cultures, but there were no significant replication differences in other primary cells among the viruses with envelopes from the 3 different stages of infection.
Conclusions
Similar to mucosal acquisition, HIV-1 envelope quasispecies present in injection drug users prior to seroconversion have unique phenotypic properties compared to those circulating during the chronic phase of disease.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12977-014-0106-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12977-014-0106-8
PMCID: PMC4253609  PMID: 25430652
HIV-1; Envelope; Transmission; Receptor; Replication; Injection drug use; Dendritic cells; Selection; Interferon
4.  Effect of community-based voluntary counselling and testing on HIV incidence and social and behavioural outcomes (NIMH Project Accept; HPTN 043): a cluster-randomised trial 
The lancet global health  2014;2(5):e267-e277.
Background
NIMH Project Accept (HPTN 043) was a cluster-randomized trial that tested whether a multicomponent, multi-level prevention strategy (community-based voluntary counselling and testing [CBVCT]) reduced HIV incidence compared to standard voluntary counselling and testing (SVCT).
Methods
Forty-eight communities were enrolled at five sites in South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Thailand. CBVCT was designed to make testing more accessible in communities, engage communities through outreach, and provide post-test support services. SVCT comprised standard VCT services established at existing facilities. Communities were randomized in matched pairs to 36 months of CBVCT or SVCT. Data were collected at baseline (n=14,567) and post-intervention (n=56,683) by cross-sectional random surveys of 18–32 year-old community residents. HIV incidence was estimated using a cross-sectional multi-assay algorithm. Thailand was excluded from incidence analyses due to low HIV prevalence.
Findings
The estimated incidence in the CBVCT was 1.52% vs. 1.81% in the SVCT with an estimated reduction in HIV incidence of 13·9% (relative risk [RR]=0·86; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0·725–1·023; p=0·08). Women older than 24 years had RR=0·70 (95% CI=0·54–0·90; p=0·009). CBVCT increased testing rates by 25% overall (95% CI=12%–39%; p=0·0003), by 45% among men and 15% among women. No overall effect on sexual risk behaviour was observed. However, among HIV-infected participants, CBVCT reduced the number of sexual partners by 8% (95% CI=1%–15%; p=0.03) and the proportion of multiple partnerships by 30% (95% CI=8%-46%; p=0.01). Social norms regarding HIV testing were improved in CBVCT communities.
Interpretations
The intervention was effective in increasing HIV testing, particularly among men, promoted positive social norms regarding testing, and reduced behavioural risk among HIV-infected participants. A modest reduction in HIV incidence was observed. This intervention focused primarily on HIV detection. Current and future studies that include strategies for HIV treatment and viral suppression should demonstrate further incidence reductions.
doi:10.1016/S2214-109X(14)70032-4
PMCID: PMC4131207  PMID: 25103167
HIV; incidence; Project Accept; Africa; HPTN 043
5.  Differential Specificity of HIV Incidence Assays in HIV Subtypes A and D-Infected Individuals from Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(8):1146-1150.
Abstract
Assays to determine HIV incidence from cross-sectional surveys have exhibited a high rate of false-recent misclassification in Kenya and Uganda where HIV subtypes A and D predominate. Samples from individuals infected with HIV for at least 2 years with known infecting subtype (133 subtype A, 373 subtype D) were tested using the BED-CEIA and an avidity assay. Both assays had a higher rate of false-recent misclassification for subtype D compared to subtype A (13.7% vs. 6.0%, p=0.02 for BED-CEIA; 11.0% vs. 1.5%, p<0.001 for avidity). For subtype D samples, false-recent misclassification by the BED-CEIA was also more frequent in women than men (15.0% vs. 5.6%, p=0.002), and for samples where that had an amino acid other than lysine at position 12 in the BED-CEIA peptide coding region (p=0.002). Furthermore in subtype D-infected individuals, samples misclassified by one assay were 3.5 times more likely to be misclassified by the other assay. Differential misclassification by infecting subtype of long-term infected individuals as recently infected makes it difficult to use these assays individually to estimate population level incidence without precise knowledge of the distribution of these subtypes within populations where subtype A and D cocirculate. The association of misclassification of the BED-CEIA with the avidity assay in subtype D-infected individuals limits the utility of using these assays in combination within this population.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0105
PMCID: PMC3715796  PMID: 23641870
6.  Prevalence and Factors Associated with Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection in Patients Attending a Baltimore City Emergency Department 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102422.
Objectives
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a common sexually transmitted disease, but there is limited data on its epidemiology among urban populations. The urban Emergency Department (ED) is a potential venue for surveillance as it predominantly serves an inner city minority population. We evaluate the seroprevalence and factors associated with HSV-2 infection among patients attending the Johns Hopkins Hospital Adult Emergency Department (JHH ED).
Methods
An identity unlinked-serosurvey was conducted between 6/2007 and 9/2007 in the JHH ED; sera were tested by the Focus HerpeSelect ELISA. Prevalence risk ratios (PRR) were used to determine factors associated with HSV-2 infection.
Results
Of 3,408 serum samples, 1,853 (54.4%) were seropositive for HSV-2. Females (adjPRR  = 1.47, 95% CI 1.38–1.56), non-Hispanic blacks (adjPRR  = 2.03, 95% CI 1.82–2.27), single (adjPRR  = 1.15, 95% CI 1.07–1.25), divorced (adjPRR  = 1.28, 95% CI 1.15–1.41), and unemployed patients (adjPRR  = 1.13, 95% CI 1.05–1.21) had significantly higher rates of HSV-2 infection. Though certain zip codes had significantly higher seroprevalence of HSV-2, this effect was completely attenuated when controlling for age and gender.
Conclusions
Seroprevalence of HSV-2 in the JHH ED was higher than U.S. national estimates; however, factors associated with HSV-2 infection were similar. The high seroprevalence of HSV-2 in this urban ED highlights the need for targeted testing and treatment. Cross-sectional serosurveys in the urban ED may help to examine the epidemiology of HSV-2.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102422
PMCID: PMC4103852  PMID: 25036862
7.  Differential loss of invariant NKT cells and FoxP3+ regulatory T cells in HIV-1 subtype A and subtype D infections 
HIV-1 subtype D is associated with faster disease progression as compared to subtype A. Immunological correlates of this difference remain undefined. We investigated invariant natural killer T cells and FoxP3+ regulatory T cells in Ugandans infected with either subtype. Loss of iNKT cells was pronounced in subtype D, whereas Tregs displayed more profound loss in subtype A infection. iNKT cell levels were associated with CD4 T cell IL-2 production in subtype A, but not D, infection. Thus, these viral subtypes are associated with differential loss of iNKT cells and Tregs that may influence the quality of the adaptive immune response.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e31828b2073
PMCID: PMC3683089  PMID: 23403863
HIV-1; viral subtype; AIDS; iNKT cell; CD1d; T regulatory cell
8.  Cross-Sectional HIV Incidence Estimation in HIV Prevention Research 
Accurate methods for estimating HIV incidence from cross-sectional samples would have great utility in prevention research. This report describes recent improvements in cross-sectional methods that significantly improve their accuracy. These improvements are based on the use of multiple biomarkers to identify recent HIV infections. These multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) use assays in a hierarchical approach for testing that minimizes the effort and cost of incidence estimation. These MAAs do not require mathematical adjustments for accurate estimation of the incidence rates in study populations in the year prior to sample collection. MAAs provide a practical, accurate, and cost-effective approach for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation that can be used for HIV prevention research and global epidemic monitoring.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182986fdf
PMCID: PMC3737594  PMID: 23764641
HIV; incidence; cross-sectional; multi-assay algorithm
9.  HIV Diversity as a Biomarker for HIV Incidence Estimation: Including a High-Resolution Melting Diversity Assay in a Multiassay Algorithm 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2014;52(1):115-121.
Multiassay algorithms (MAAs) can be used to estimate cross-sectional HIV incidence. We previously identified a robust MAA that includes the BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA), the Bio-Rad Avidity assay, viral load, and CD4 cell count. In this report, we evaluated MAAs that include a high-resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay that does not require sequencing. HRM scores were determined for eight regions of the HIV genome (2 in gag, 1 in pol, and 5 in env). The MAAs that were evaluated included the BED-CEIA, the Bio-Rad Avidity assay, viral load, and the HRM diversity assay, using HRM scores from different regions and a range of region-specific HRM diversity assay cutoffs. The performance characteristics based on the proportion of samples that were classified as MAA positive by duration of infection were determined for each MAA, including the mean window period. The cross-sectional incidence estimates obtained using optimized MAAs were compared to longitudinal incidence estimates for three cohorts in the United States. The performance of the HRM-based MAA was nearly identical to that of the MAA that included CD4 cell count. The HRM-based MAA had a mean window period of 154 days and provided cross-sectional incidence estimates that were similar to those based on cohort follow-up. HIV diversity is a useful biomarker for estimating HIV incidence. MAAs that include the HRM diversity assay can provide accurate HIV incidence estimates using stored blood plasma or serum samples without a requirement for CD4 cell count data.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02040-13
PMCID: PMC3911463  PMID: 24153134
10.  A Comparison of Two Measures of HIV Diversity in Multi-Assay Algorithms for HIV Incidence Estimation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101043.
Background
Multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) can be used to estimate HIV incidence in cross-sectional surveys. We compared the performance of two MAAs that use HIV diversity as one of four biomarkers for analysis of HIV incidence.
Methods
Both MAAs included two serologic assays (LAg-Avidity assay and BioRad-Avidity assay), HIV viral load, and an HIV diversity assay. HIV diversity was quantified using either a high resolution melting (HRM) diversity assay that does not require HIV sequencing (HRM score for a 239 base pair env region) or sequence ambiguity (the percentage of ambiguous bases in a 1,302 base pair pol region). Samples were classified as MAA positive (likely from individuals with recent HIV infection) if they met the criteria for all of the assays in the MAA. The following performance characteristics were assessed: (1) the proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection, (2) the mean window period, (3) the shadow (the time period before sample collection that is being assessed by the MAA), and (4) the accuracy of cross-sectional incidence estimates for three cohort studies.
Results
The proportion of samples classified as MAA positive as a function of duration of infection was nearly identical for the two MAAs. The mean window period was 141 days for the HRM-based MAA and 131 days for the sequence ambiguity-based MAA. The shadows for both MAAs were <1 year. Both MAAs provided cross-sectional HIV incidence estimates that were very similar to longitudinal incidence estimates based on HIV seroconversion.
Conclusions
MAAs that include the LAg-Avidity assay, the BioRad-Avidity assay, HIV viral load, and HIV diversity can provide accurate HIV incidence estimates. Sequence ambiguity measures obtained using a commercially-available HIV genotyping system can be used as an alternative to HRM scores in MAAs for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101043
PMCID: PMC4072769  PMID: 24968135
11.  Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection among Commercial Sex Workers in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China 
International journal of STD & AIDS  2008;19(10):694-697.
Summary
A cross-sectional prevalence survey was conducted to determine the sociodemographic correlates of HSV-2 infection among commercial sex workers (CSWs) in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China. HSV-2 prevalence was 33.0%, HIV infection was 2.4%, and HCV infections was 6.8%. Subjects who were positive for HSV-2 had a significantly higher prevalence of HIV infection (5.5% vs. 0.9%, p=0.002; OR: 6.4, p=0.006) and HCV infection (18.7% vs. 2.4%, p<0.001; OR: 7.6, p<0.001) compared to HSV-2 negative individuals. Risk factors that increased the odds of HSV-2 infection were HIV infection, HCV infection, being female, and having a steady sex partner within the last six months (p≤0.01). In a multivariate analysis, female sex workers (OR: 6.6, p<0.001), HCV infection (OR: 5.9, p<0.001), and having a sex partner within the last 6 months (OR: 2.2, p<0.05) had greater odds of being infected with HSV-2. A strong relationship was found between HSV-2, HIV, and HCV infections.
doi:10.1258/ijsa.2008.008072
PMCID: PMC3991299  PMID: 18824623
commercial sex workers (CSWs); herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2); human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); hepatitis C virus (HCV); China
12.  The Role of Viral Introductions in Sustaining Community-Based HIV Epidemics in Rural Uganda: Evidence from Spatial Clustering, Phylogenetics, and Egocentric Transmission Models 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001610.
Using different approaches to investigate HIV transmission patterns, Justin Lessler and colleagues find that extra-community HIV introductions are frequent and likely play a role in sustaining the epidemic in the Rakai community.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
It is often assumed that local sexual networks play a dominant role in HIV spread in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to determine the extent to which continued HIV transmission in rural communities—home to two-thirds of the African population—is driven by intra-community sexual networks versus viral introductions from outside of communities.
Methods and Findings
We analyzed the spatial dynamics of HIV transmission in rural Rakai District, Uganda, using data from a cohort of 14,594 individuals within 46 communities. We applied spatial clustering statistics, viral phylogenetics, and probabilistic transmission models to quantify the relative contribution of viral introductions into communities versus community- and household-based transmission to HIV incidence. Individuals living in households with HIV-incident (n = 189) or HIV-prevalent (n = 1,597) persons were 3.2 (95% CI: 2.7–3.7) times more likely to be HIV infected themselves compared to the population in general, but spatial clustering outside of households was relatively weak and was confined to distances <500 m. Phylogenetic analyses of gag and env genes suggest that chains of transmission frequently cross community boundaries. A total of 95 phylogenetic clusters were identified, of which 44% (42/95) were two individuals sharing a household. Among the remaining clusters, 72% (38/53) crossed community boundaries. Using the locations of self-reported sexual partners, we estimate that 39% (95% CI: 34%–42%) of new viral transmissions occur within stable household partnerships, and that among those infected by extra-household sexual partners, 62% (95% CI: 55%–70%) are infected by sexual partners from outside their community. These results rely on the representativeness of the sample and the quality of self-reported partnership data and may not reflect HIV transmission patterns outside of Rakai.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that HIV introductions into communities are common and account for a significant proportion of new HIV infections acquired outside of households in rural Uganda, though the extent to which this is true elsewhere in Africa remains unknown. Our results also suggest that HIV prevention efforts should be implemented at spatial scales broader than the community and should target key populations likely responsible for introductions into communities.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
About 35 million people (25 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and about 2.3 million people become newly infected every year. HIV destroys immune system cells, leaving infected individuals susceptible to other infections. HIV infection can be controlled by taking antiretroviral drugs (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) daily throughout life. Although originally available only to people living in wealthy countries, recent political efforts mean that 9.7 million people in low- and middle-income countries now have access to ART. However, ART does not cure HIV infection, so prevention of viral transmission remains extremely important. Because HIV is usually transmitted through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of infection by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by using condoms. Male circumcision also reduces HIV transmission. In addition to reducing illness and death among HIV-positive people, ART also reduces HIV transmission.
Why Was This Study Done?
Effective HIV control requires an understanding of how HIV spreads through sexual networks. These networks include sexual partnerships between individuals in households, between community members in different households, and between individuals from different communities. Local sexual networks (household and intra-community sexual partnerships) are sometimes assumed to be the dominant driving force in HIV spread in sub-Saharan Africa, but are viral introductions from sexual partnerships with individuals outside the community also important? This question needs answering because the effectiveness of interventions such as ART as prevention partly depends on how many new infections in an intervention area are attributable to infection from partners residing in that area and how many are attributable to infection from partners living elsewhere. Here, the researchers use three analytical methods—spatial clustering statistics, viral phylogenetics, and egocentric transmission modeling—to ask whether HIV transmission in rural Uganda is driven predominantly by intra-community sexual networks. Spatial clustering analysis uses the geographical coordinates of households to measure the tendency of HIV-infected people to cluster spatially at scales consistent with community transmission. Viral phylogenetic analysis examines the genetic relatedness of viruses; if transmission is through local networks, viruses in newly infected individuals should more closely resemble viruses in other community members than those in people outside the community. Egocentric transmission modelling uses information on the locations of recent sexual partners to estimate the proportions of new transmissions from household, intra-community, and extra-community partners.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers applied their three analytical methods to data collected from 14,594 individuals living in 46 communities (governmental administrative units) in Rakai District, Uganda. Spatial clustering analysis indicated that individuals who lived in households with individuals with incident HIV (newly diagnosed) or prevalent HIV (previously diagnosed) were 3.2 times more likely than the general population to be HIV-positive themselves. Spatial clustering outside households was relatively weak, however, and was confined to distances of less than half a kilometer. Viral phylogenetic analysis indicated that 44% of phylogenetic clusters (viruses with related genetic sequences found in more than one individual) were within households, but that 40% of clusters crossed community borders. Finally, analysis of the locations of self-reported sexual partners indicated that 39% of new viral transmissions occurred within stable household partnerships, but that among people newly infected by extra-household partners, nearly two-thirds were infected by partners from outside their community.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results of all three analyses suggest that HIV introductions into communities are frequent and are likely to play an important role in sustaining HIV transmission in the Rakai District. Specifically, within this rural HIV-endemic region (a region where HIV infection is always present), viral introductions combined with intra-household transmission account for the majority of new infections, although community-based sexual networks also play a critical role in HIV transmission. These findings may not be generalizable to the broader Ugandan population or to other regions of Africa, and their accuracy is likely to be limited by the use of self-reported sexual partner data. Nevertheless, these findings indicate that the dynamics of HIV transmission in rural Uganda (and probably elsewhere) are complex. Consequently, to halt the spread of HIV, prevention efforts will need to be implemented at spatial scales broader than individual communities, and key populations that are likely to introduce HIV into communities will need to be targeted.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001610.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in Uganda and on HIV prevention strategies (in English and Spanish)
The UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2013 provides up-to-date information about the AIDS epidemic and efforts to halt it
The Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (University of California, San Francisco) has a fact sheet about sexual networks and HIV prevention
Wikipedia provides information on spatial clustering analysis (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
A PLOS Computational Biology Topic Page (a review article that is a published copy of record of a dynamic version of the article as found in Wikipedia) about viral phylodynamics is available
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, NAM/aidsmap, and Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001610
PMCID: PMC3942316  PMID: 24595023
14.  Estimation of HIV Incidence Using Multiple Biomarkers 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(3):264-272.
The incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the rate at which new HIV infections occur in populations. The development of accurate, practical, and cost-effective approaches to estimation of HIV incidence is a priority among researchers in HIV surveillance because of limitations with existing methods. In this paper, we develop methods for estimating HIV incidence rates using multiple biomarkers in biological samples collected from a cross-sectional survey. An advantage of the method is that it does not require longitudinal follow-up of individuals. We use assays for BED, avidity, viral load, and CD4 cell count data from clade B samples collected in several US epidemiologic cohorts between 1987 and 2010. Considering issues of accuracy, cost, and implementation, we identify optimal multiassay algorithms for estimating incidence. We find that the multiple-biomarker approach to cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation corrects the significant deficiencies of currently available approaches and is a potentially powerful and practical tool for HIV surveillance.
doi:10.1093/aje/kws436
PMCID: PMC3626051  PMID: 23302151
acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; algorithms; cross-sectional studies; HIV; incidence; models, statistical
15.  Use of a Multifaceted Approach to Analyze HIV Incidence in a Cohort Study of Women in the United States: HIV Prevention Trials Network 064 Study 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(2):223-231.
Background. Reliable methods for estimating the incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are needed to monitor the epidemic, identify at-risk populations, and evaluate HIV prevention strategies. We used a multifaceted approach to estimate HIV incidence in the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 064 study.
Methods. The HPTN 064 study enrolled 2067 HIV-seronegative women and 32 HIV-seropositive women with no prior HIV infection diagnosis. Women were followed for up to 12 months. HIV incidence estimates were based on (1) detection of acute HIV infection, (2) documentation of HIV seroconversion, and (3) detection of recent HIV infection, using a multiassay algorithm (MAA).
Results. Two women had acute HIV infection at enrollment, 4 seroconverted, and 2 were identified as recently infected at enrollment using the MAA. The annual HIV incidence estimate based on acute infection at enrollment (2.52% [95% confidence interval {CI}, .17%–9.33%], using a 14-day window period) was higher than the estimate based on seroconversion (0.24% [95% CI, .07%–.62%]; P = .027). Incidence estimates obtained using the MAA at enrollment and at the end of study were 0.25% (95% CI, .03%–.93%) and 0.13% (95% CI, .006%–.76%), respectively.
Conclusions. We detected a high frequency of acute infection at enrollment. Cross-sectional HIV incidence estimates obtained using the MAA were similar to the longitudinal estimate based on HIV seroconversion.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00995176.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis658
PMCID: PMC3532822  PMID: 23129758
HIV-1; women; United States; incidence
16.  HIV Incidence Determination in the United States: A Multiassay Approach 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;207(2):232-239.
Background. Accurate testing algorithms are needed for estimating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence from cross-sectional surveys.
Methods. We developed a multiassay algorithm (MAA) for HIV incidence that includes the BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA), an antibody avidity assay, HIV load, and CD4+ T-cell count. We analyzed 1782 samples from 709 individuals in the United States who had a known duration of HIV infection (range, 0 to >8 years). Logistic regression with cubic splines was used to compare the performance of the MAA to the BED-CEIA and to determine the window period of the MAA. We compared the annual incidence estimated with the MAA to the annual incidence based on HIV seroconversion in a longitudinal cohort.
Results. The MAA had a window period of 141 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 94–150) and a very low false-recent misclassification rate (only 0.4% of 1474 samples from subjects infected for >1 year were misclassified as indicative of recent infection). In a cohort study, annual incidence based on HIV seroconversion was 1.04% (95% CI, .70%–1.55%). The incidence estimate obtained using the MAA was essentially identical: 0.97% (95% CI, .51%–1.71%).
Conclusions. The MAA is as sensitive for detecting recent HIV infection as the BED-CEIA and has a very low rate of false-recent misclassification. It provides a powerful tool for cross-sectional HIV incidence determination.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis659
PMCID: PMC3532826  PMID: 23129760
HIV; incidence testing; United States; epidemiology
17.  Glycoproteomic Study Reveals Altered Plasma Proteins Associated with HIV Elite Suppressors 
Theranostics  2014;4(12):1153-1163.
HIV elite suppressors (ES) or controllers are individuals achieving control of viremia by their natural immunological mechanisms without highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Study of the mechanisms responsible for the immunological suppression of viremia in ES may lead to the detection of individuals with ES and the effective control of HIV infection. We hypothesize that plasma glycoproteins play essential roles in the immune system of ES since plasma proteins are critical and highly relevant in anti-viral immunity and most plasma proteins are glycoproteins. To examine glycoproteins associated with ES, plasma samples from ES individuals (n=20), and from individuals on HAART (n=20), with AIDS (n=20), and no HIV infection (n=10) were analyzed by quantitative glycoproteomics. We found that a number of glycoproteins changed between ES versus HAART, AIDS and HIV- individuals. In sharp contrast, the level of plasma glycoproteins in the HAART cohort showed fewer changes compared with AIDS and HIV- individuals. These results showed that although both ES and HAART effectively suppress viremia, ES appeared to profoundly affect immunologically relevant glycoproteins in plasma as consequence of or support for anti-viral immunity. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that altered proteins in ES plasma were mainly associated with inflammation. This analysis suggests that overlapping, while distinguishable, glycoprotein profiles for inflammation and immune activation appeared to be present between ES and non-ES (HAART+AIDS) cohorts, indicating different triggers for inflammation and immune activation between natural and treatment-related viral suppression.
doi:10.7150/thno.9510
PMCID: PMC4183994  PMID: 25285165
HIV; elite suppressor; HAART; AIDS; glycoprotein; glycoproteomics; inflammation; immune activation
18.  Performance of a Limiting-Antigen Avidity Enzyme Immunoassay for Cross-Sectional Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82772.
Background
A limiting antigen avidity enzyme immunoassay (HIV-1 LAg-Avidity assay) was recently developed for cross-sectional HIV incidence estimation. We evaluated the performance of the LAg-Avidity assay alone and in multi-assay algorithms (MAAs) that included other biomarkers.
Methods and Findings
Performance of testing algorithms was evaluated using 2,282 samples from individuals in the United States collected 1 month to >8 years after HIV seroconversion. The capacity of selected testing algorithms to accurately estimate incidence was evaluated in three longitudinal cohorts. When used in a single-assay format, the LAg-Avidity assay classified some individuals infected >5 years as assay positive and failed to provide reliable incidence estimates in cohorts that included individuals with long-term infections. We evaluated >500,000 testing algorithms, that included the LAg-Avidity assay alone and MAAs with other biomarkers (BED capture immunoassay [BED-CEIA], BioRad-Avidity assay, HIV viral load, CD4 cell count), varying the assays and assay cutoffs. We identified an optimized 2-assay MAA that included the LAg-Avidity and BioRad-Avidity assays, and an optimized 4-assay MAA that included those assays, as well as HIV viral load and CD4 cell count. The two optimized MAAs classified all 845 samples from individuals infected >5 years as MAA negative and estimated incidence within a year of sample collection. These two MAAs produced incidence estimates that were consistent with those from longitudinal follow-up of cohorts. A comparison of the laboratory assay costs of the MAAs was also performed, and we found that the costs associated with the optimal two assay MAA were substantially less than with the four assay MAA.
Conclusions
The LAg-Avidity assay did not perform well in a single-assay format, regardless of the assay cutoff. MAAs that include the LAg-Avidity and BioRad-Avidity assays, with or without viral load and CD4 cell count, provide accurate incidence estimates.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082772
PMCID: PMC3873916  PMID: 24386116
19.  HIV-1 envelope replication and α4β7 utilization among newly infected subjects and their corresponding heterosexual partners 
Retrovirology  2013;10:162.
Background
Previous studies suggest that active selection limits the number of HIV-1 variants acquired by a newly infected individual from the diverse variants circulating in the transmitting partner. We compared HIV-1 envelopes from 9 newly infected subjects and their linked transmitting partner to explore potential mechanisms for selection.
Results
Recipient virus envelopes had significant genotypic differences compared to those present in the transmitting partner. Recombinant viruses incorporating pools of recipient and transmitter envelopes showed no significant difference in their sensitivity to receptor and fusion inhibitors, suggesting they had relatively similar entry capacity in the presence of low CD4 and CCR5 levels. Aggregate results in primary cells from up to 4 different blood or skin donors showed that viruses with envelopes from the transmitting partner as compared to recipient envelopes replicated more efficiently in CD4+ T cells, monocyte derived dendritic cell (MDDC) – CD4+ T cell co-cultures, Langerhans cells (LCs) – CD4+ T cell co-cultures and CD4+ T cells expressing high levels of the gut homing receptor, α4β7, and demonstrated greater binding to α4β7 high / CD8+ T cells. These transmitter versus recipient envelope virus phenotypic differences, however, were not always consistent among the primary cells from all the different blood or skin donation volunteers.
Conclusion
Although genotypically unique variants are present in newly infected individuals compared to the diverse swarm circulating in the chronically infected transmitting partner, replication in potential early target cells and receptor utilization either do not completely dictate this genetic selection, or these potential transmission phenotypes are lost very soon after HIV-1 acquisition.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-10-162
PMCID: PMC3883469  PMID: 24369910
HIV-1; Envelope; Transmission; Receptor; Replication; Alpha4 beta7; Dendritic cells; Langerhans cells; Selection
20.  Phylodynamic Profile of HIV-1 Subtype B, CRF01_AE and the Recently Emerging CRF51_01B among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in Singapore 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e80884.
HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE are the predominant infecting subtypes among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore. The genetic history, population dynamics and pattern of transmission networks of these genotypes remain largely unknown. We delineated the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and the recently characterized CRF51_01B strains circulating among the MSM population in Singapore. A total of 105 (49.5%) newly-diagnosed treatment-naïve MSM were recruited between February 2008 and August 2009. Phylogenetic reconstructions of the protease gene (HXB2: 2239 – 2629), gp120 (HXB2: 6942 – 7577) and gp41 (HXB2: 7803 – 8276) of the env gene uncovered five monophyletic transmission networks (two each within subtype B and CRF01_AE and one within CRF51_01B lineages) of different sizes (involving 3 – 23 MSM subjects, supported by posterior probability measure of 1.0). Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated that the emergence and dissemination of multiple sub-epidemic networks occurred between 1995 and 2005, driven largely by subtype B and later followed by CRF01_AE. Exponential increase in effective population size for both subtype B and CRF01_AE occurred between 2002 to 2007 and 2005 to 2007, respectively. Genealogical estimates suggested that the novel CRF51_01B lineages were probably generated through series of recombination events involving CRF01_AE and multiple subtype B ancestors. Our study provides the first insight on the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and CRF51_01B viral strains circulating among MSM in Singapore.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080884
PMCID: PMC3846621  PMID: 24312505
21.  Antiretroviral Drug Susceptibility Among HIV-Infected Adults Failing Antiretroviral Therapy in Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1739-1744.
Abstract
We analyzed antiretroviral drug susceptibility in HIV-infected adults failing first- and second-line antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Rakai, Uganda. Samples obtained from participants at baseline (pretreatment) and at the time of failure on first-line ART and second-line ART were analyzed using genotypic and phenotypic assays for antiretroviral drug resistance. Test results were obtained from 73 samples from 38 individuals (31 baseline samples, 36 first-line failure samples, and six second-line failure samples). Four (13%) of the 31 baseline samples had mutations associated with resistance to nucleoside or nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs and NNRTIs, respectively). Among the 36 first-line failure samples, 31 (86%) had NNRTI resistance mutations and 29 (81%) had lamivudine resistance mutations; only eight (22%) had other NRTI resistance mutations. None of the six individuals failing a second-line protease inhibitor (PI)-based regimen had PI resistance mutations. Six (16%) of the participants had discordant genotypic and phenotypic test results. Genotypic resistance to drugs included in first-line ART regimens was detected prior to treatment and among participants failing first-line ART. PI resistance was not detected in individuals failing second-line ART. Surveillance for transmitted and acquired drug resistance remains a priority for scale-up of ART.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0352
PMCID: PMC3505045  PMID: 22443282
22.  Development of Methods for Cross-Sectional HIV Incidence Estimation in a Large, Community Randomized Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78818.
Background
Accurate methods of HIV incidence determination are critically needed to monitor the epidemic and determine the population level impact of prevention trials. One such trial, Project Accept, a Phase III, community-randomized trial, evaluated the impact of enhanced, community-based voluntary counseling and testing on population-level HIV incidence. The primary endpoint of the trial was based on a single, cross-sectional, post-intervention HIV incidence assessment.
Methods and Findings
Test performance of HIV incidence determination was evaluated for 403 multi-assay algorithms [MAAs] that included the BED capture immunoassay [BED-CEIA] alone, an avidity assay alone, and combinations of these assays at different cutoff values with and without CD4 and viral load testing on samples from seven African cohorts (5,325 samples from 3,436 individuals with known duration of HIV infection [1 month to >10 years]). The mean window period (average time individuals appear positive for a given algorithm) and performance in estimating an incidence estimate (in terms of bias and variance) of these MAAs were evaluated in three simulated epidemic scenarios (stable, emerging and waning). The power of different test methods to detect a 35% reduction in incidence in the matched communities of Project Accept was also assessed. A MAA was identified that included BED-CEIA, the avidity assay, CD4 cell count, and viral load that had a window period of 259 days, accurately estimated HIV incidence in all three epidemic settings and provided sufficient power to detect an intervention effect in Project Accept.
Conclusions
In a Southern African setting, HIV incidence estimates and intervention effects can be accurately estimated from cross-sectional surveys using a MAA. The improved accuracy in cross-sectional incidence testing that a MAA provides is a powerful tool for HIV surveillance and program evaluation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078818
PMCID: PMC3827276  PMID: 24236054
23.  Previously Transmitted HIV-1 Strains Are Preferentially Selected During Subsequent Sexual Transmissions 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(9):1433-1442.
Background. A genetic bottleneck is known to exist for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) at the point of sexual transmission. However, the nature of this bottleneck and its effect on viral diversity over time is unclear.
Methods. Interhost and intrahost HIV diversity was analyzed in a stable population in Rakai, Uganda, from 1994 to 2002. HIV-1 envelope sequences from both individuals in initially HIV-discordant relationships in which transmission occurred later were examined using Sanger sequencing of bulk polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products (for 22 couples), clonal analysis (for 3), and next-generation deep sequencing (for 9).
Results. Intrahost viral diversity was significantly higher than changes in interhost diversity (P < .01). The majority of HIV-1–discordant couples examined via bulk PCR (16 of 22 couples), clonal analysis (3 of 3), and next-generation deep sequencing (6 of 9) demonstrated that the viral populations present in the newly infected recipient were more closely related to the donor partner's HIV-1 variants found earlier during infection as compared to those circulating near the estimated time of transmission (P = .03).
Conclusions. These findings suggest that sexual transmission constrains viral diversity at the population level, partially because of the preferential transmission of ancestral as opposed to contemporary strains circulating in the transmitting partner. Future successful vaccine strategies may need to target these transmitted ancestral strains.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis503
PMCID: PMC3466994  PMID: 22997233
24.  Inter-Laboratory Assessment of a Prototype Multiplex Kit for Determination of Recent HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77765.
Background
Accurate and reliable laboratory-based assays are needed for estimating HIV-1 incidence from cross-sectional samples. We recently described the development of a customized, HIV-1-specific Bio-Plex assay that allows for the measurement of HIV-specific antibody levels and avidity to multiple analytes for improved HIV-1 incidence estimates.
Methods
To assess intra- and inter-laboratory assay performance, prototype multiplex kits were developed and evaluated by three distinct laboratories. Longitudinal seroconversion specimens were tested in parallel by each laboratory and kit performance was compared to that of an in-house assay. Additionally, the ability of the kit to distinguish recent from long-term HIV-1 infection, as compared to the in-house assay, was determined by comparing the reactivity of known recent (infected <6 months) and long-term (infected >12 months) drug naïve specimens.
Results
Although the range of reactivity for each analyte varied between the prototype kit and in-house assay, a measurable distinction in reactivity between recent and long-term specimens was observed with both assays in all three laboratories. Additionally, kit performance was consistent between all three laboratories. The intra-assay coefficient of variation (CV), between sample replicates for all laboratories, ranged from 0.5% to 6.1%. The inter-laboratory CVs ranged from 8.5% to 21.3% for gp160-avidity index (a) and gp120-normalized mean fluorescent intensity (MFI) value (n), respectively.
Conclusion
We demonstrate the feasibility of producing a multiplex kit for measuring HIV antibody levels and avidity, with the potential for improved incidence estimates based on multi-analyte algorithms. The availability of a commercial kit will facilitate the transfer of technology among diverse laboratories for widespread assay use.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077765
PMCID: PMC3798393  PMID: 24147075
25.  Specificity of Four Laboratory Approaches for Cross-Sectional HIV Incidence Determination: Analysis of Samples from Adults with Known Nonrecent HIV Infection from Five African Countries 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(10):1177-1183.
Abstract
Assays to determine cross-sectional HIV incidence misclassify some individuals with nonrecent HIV infection as recently infected, overestimating HIV incidence. We analyzed factors associated with false-recent misclassification in five African countries. Samples from 2197 adults from Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda who were HIV infected >12 months were tested using the (1) BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED), (2) avidity assay, (3) BED and avidity assays with higher assay cutoffs (BED+avidity screen), and (4) multiassay algorithm (MAA) that includes the BED+avidity screen, CD4 cell count, and HIV viral load. Logistic regression identified factors associated with misclassification. False-recent misclassification rates and 95% confidence intervals were BED alone: 7.6% (6.6, 8.8); avidity assay alone: 3.5% (2.7, 4.3); BED+avidity screen: 2.2% (1.7, 2.9); and MAA: 1.2% (0.8, 1.8). The misclassification rate for the MAA was significantly lower than the rates for the other three methods (each p<0.05). Misclassification rates were lower when the analysis was limited to subtype C-endemic countries, with the lowest rate obtained for the MAA [0.8% (0.2, 1.9)]. Factors associated with misclassification were for BED alone: country of origin, antiretroviral treatment (ART), viral load, and CD4 cell count; for avidity assay alone: country of origin; for BED+avidity screen: country of origin and ART. No factors were associated with misclassification using the MAA. In a multivariate model, these associations remained significant with one exception: the association of ART with misclassification was completely attenuated. A MAA that included CD4 cell count and viral load had lower false-recent misclassification than the BED or avidity assays (alone or in combination). Studies are underway to compare the sensitivity of these methods for detection of recent HIV infection.
doi:10.1089/aid.2011.0341
PMCID: PMC3448109  PMID: 22283149

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