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1.  Changes in the Distribution of HIV Type 1 Subtypes D and A in Rakai District, Uganda Between 1994 and 2002 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2010;26(10):1087-1091.
HIV-1 subtype D (HIV-1D) progresses to disease faster and has lower transmissibility than subtype A (HIV-1A). We examined whether these differences could lead to a population level change in the distribution of these subtypes over time. HIV-1 viral RNA was extracted from stored serum samples from HIV-positive subjects participating in a population-based cohort study in Rakai, Uganda in 1994 and 2002. Portions of the viral proteins gag and gp41 were sequenced and subtyped. HIV-1 subtype assignments were generated for 773 subjects in 1994 and 812 subjects in 2002. The change in subtype distribution of the population as a whole as well as quartile age groups were examined for significant changes using a linear model. There was a significant decrease in the proportion of subjects infected with HIV-1D from 70.2% to 62.4% and a significant increase in subjects infected with HIV-1A from 16.7% to 23.3% over the 8-year period (p = 0.005). The most marked changes in proportion of HIV-1D and A were seen in the younger individuals (<25 and 25–30 years; p < 0.05). The percentages of subjects infected with HIV-1C and recombinant subtypes did not change significantly. Over this 8-year period, the overall viral population in this region evolved toward the less virulent HIV-1A strain, most likely as a consequence of the faster disease progression and lower transmissibility of HIV-1D.
PMCID: PMC2965693  PMID: 20925575
2.  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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3715796  PMID: 23641870
3.  Identification of New CRF51_01B in Singapore Using Full Genome Analysis of Three HIV Type 1 Isolates 
A recent HIV-1 molecular epidemiology survey in Singapore identified a novel CRF01_AE/B recombinant form, which accounted for 13 (11.9%) of 109 patient samples. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA from three of these 13 patients was used to generate near full-length sequences to characterize the novel CRF01_AE/B recombinant form. The three isolates had a recombinant structure composed of CRF01_AE and subtype B, and shared identical breakpoints. As the three patients were not epidemiologically linked, this recombinant form has been designated CRF51_01B. Identification of the novel recombinant forms indicates ongoing active HIV-1 transmission in Singapore.
PMCID: PMC3332370  PMID: 21902588
4.  Molecular Epidemiology of HIV Type 1 in Singapore and Identification of Novel CRF01_AE/B Recombinant Forms 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2011;27(10):1135-1137.
To investigate HIV-1 molecular epidemiology in Singapore, we sequenced portions of three regions of the HIV-1 genome (protease HXB2: 2163 to 2620, gp120 HXB2: 6904 to 7628, and gp41 HXB2: 7817 to 8264) from 212 plasma samples collected between February 2008 and August 2009. From these samples, 109 (51.4%) generated interpretable data in all regions. Sixty-one (56.0%) were identified as CRF01_AE, 26 (23.9%) as subtype B and 14 (12.8%) as possible novel recombinant forms. The main novel recombinant pattern, detected in 13 sequences, had subtype B in protease and gp41 and CRF01_AE in gp120. There was intermixing of subtypes within transmission risk groups. However, 85% of subjects infected with the novel recombinant forms self-identified as men who have sex with men or bisexuals compared with only 41% of individuals infected with CRF01_AE and 62% infected with subtype B (p = 0.001).
PMCID: PMC3186691  PMID: 21235306
5.  Geographic HIV Type 1 Subtype Distribution in Rakai District, Uganda 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2009;25(10):1045-1048.
To analyze HIV-1 subtype distribution, sequence analysis was performed on serum specimens obtained in 1994 from the Rakai Health Sciences community cohort in Uganda. Portions of gag-p24 and env-gp41 were sequenced and HIV subtype was determined for 773 subjects residing in 10 community clusters in rural Uganda. Subtypes A (17%) and D (70%) were the most common strains in the population. Subtype distribution varied by geographic region with significantly more subtype A in northern community clusters compared with southern clusters (21% vs. 8%, p < 0.001) and more subtype D in southern clusters compared with northern clusters (78% vs. 65%, p < 0.008). These data illustrate the geographic complexity of subtype variation, which has important implications for HIV-1 vaccine design.
PMCID: PMC2785855  PMID: 19803713
6.  Geographic HIV Type 1 Subtype Distribution in Rakai District, Uganda 
AIDS research and human retroviruses  2009;25(10):1045-1048.
To analyze HIV-1 subtype distribution, sequence analysis was performed on serum specimens obtained in 1994 from the Rakai Health Sciences community cohort in Uganda. Portions of gag-p24 and env-gp41 were sequenced and HIV subtype was determined for 773 subjects residing in 10 community clusters in rural Uganda. Subtypes A (17%) and D (70%) were the most common strains in the population. Subtype distribution varied by geographic region with significantly more subtype A in northern community clusters compared with southern clusters (21% vs. 8%, p < 0.001) and more subtype D in southern clusters compared with northern clusters (78% vs. 65%, p < 0.008). These data illustrate the geographic complexity of subtype variation, which has important implications for HIV-1 vaccine design.
PMCID: PMC2785855  PMID: 19803713
7.  Short Communication: Colony-Forming Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells Are Not Preferentially Infected by HIV Type 1 Subtypes A and D in Vivo 
HIV subtype C has previously been shown to infect hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) at a significantly higher rate than subtype B. To better understand the subtype-specific nature of HPC infection, we examined the prevalence of HPC infection in vivo by HIV-1 subtypes A and D. HIV-1 infection of HPC was examined in 40 individuals, 19 infected with subtype A and 21 with subtype D, using a single colony assay format. DNA from 1177 extracted colonies was tested for integrated viral DNA of the p24 gene. Four colonies were found to be stably infected, three of 462 colonies (0.65%) from HIV-1A-infected individuals (1/19 individuals) and one of 715 colonies (0.14%) from HIV-1D-infected individuals (1/22 individuals). These rates of colony infection were comparable to the rates observed in PBMCs from the same subjects. Additionally, no correlation was observed between cell colony density and circulating viral load or proviral load. Our findings suggest that HIV-1 subtypes A and D do not preferentially infect colony-forming HPCs over mature HIV target cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3423642  PMID: 22149236
8.  HIV Type 1 Genetic Variation in Foreskin and Blood from Subjects in Rakai, Uganda 
The foreskin contains a subset of dendritic cells, macrophages, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that may be targets for initial HIV infection in female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV-1. We present analyses comparing HIV-1 sequences isolated from foreskin DNA and serum RNA in 12 heterosexual men enrolled in an adult male circumcision trial performed in Rakai, Uganda. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated three topologies: (1) little divergence between foreskin and serum, (2) multiple genetic bottlenecks occurring in both foreskin and serum, and (3) complete separation of foreskin and serum populations. The latter tree topology provided evidence that foreskin may serve as a reservoir for distinct HIV-1 strains. Distance and recombination analysis also demonstrated that viral genotypes in the foreskin might segregate independently from the circulating pool of viruses.
PMCID: PMC3380386  PMID: 21902587
9.  Impact of HIV Subtype on Performance of the Limiting Antigen-Avidity Enzyme Immunoassay, the Bio-Rad Avidity Assay, and the BED Capture Immunoassay in Rakai, Uganda 
Previous studies demonstrated that individuals with subtype D HIV infection who had been infected for 2 or more years were frequently misclassified as assay positive using cross-sectional incidence assays. Samples from 510 subjects (212 subtype A, 298 subtype D) who were infected for 2.2 to 14.5 years (median 5.4 years) and were not virally suppressed were tested using an LAg-Avidity enzyme immunoassay (LAg-Avidity EIA), Bio-Rad Avidity assay, and BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA). The performance of these three assays was evaluated using various assay cutoff values [LAg-Avidity EIA: <1.0 OD-n and <2.0 OD-n; Bio-Rad Avidity assay: <40% avidity index (AI) and <80% AI; BED-CEIA: <0.8 OD-n]. The mean LAg-Avidity EIA result was higher for subtype A than D (4.54±0.95 vs. 3.86±1.26, p<0.001); the mean Bio-Rad Avidity assay result was higher for subtype A than D (88.9%±12.5% vs. 75.1±30.5, p<0.001); and the mean BED-CEIA result was similar for the two subtypes (2.2±1.2 OD-n for subtype A, 2.2±1.3 OD-n for subtype D, p<0.9). The frequency of misclassification was higher for individuals with subtype D infection compared to those with subtype A infection, using either the LAg-Avidity EIA with a cutoff of <2.0 OD-n or the Bio-Rad Avidity assay with cutoffs of <40% or <80% AI. No subtype-specific differences in assay performance were observed using the BED-CEIA. Sex and age were not significantly associated with misclassification by any assay. The LAg-Avidity EIA with a cutoff <1.0 OD-n had the lowest frequency of misclassification in this Ugandan population.
PMCID: PMC3976571  PMID: 24083837
10.  Liver Stiffness Is Associated With Monocyte Activation in HIV-Infected Ugandans Without Viral Hepatitis 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(7):1026-1030.
A high prevalence of liver stiffness, as determined by elevated transient elastography liver stiffness measurement, was previously found in a cohort of HIV-infected Ugandans in the absence of chronic viral hepatitis. Given the role of immune activation and microbial translocation in models of liver disease, a shared immune mechanism was hypothesized in the same cohort without other overt causes of liver disease. This study examined whether HIV-related liver stiffness was associated with markers of immune activation or microbial translocation (MT). A retrospective case-control study of subjects with evidence of liver stiffness as defined by a transient elastography stiffness measurement ≥9.3 kPa (cases=133) and normal controls (n=133) from Rakai, Uganda was performed. Cases were matched to controls by age, gender, HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) status. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), endotoxin IgM antibody, soluble CD14 (sCD14), C-reactive protein (CRP), and D-dimer levels were measured. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted matched odds ratios (adjMOR) and 95% confidence intervals. Higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 19% increased odds of liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.19, p=0.002). In HIV-infected individuals, higher sCD14 levels were associated with a 54% increased odds of having liver stiffness (adjMOR=1.54, p<0.001); however, the opposite was observed in HIV-negative individuals (adjMOR=0.57, p=0.001). No other biomarker was significantly associated with liver stiffness, and only one subject was found to have detectable LPS. Liver stiffness in HIV-infected Ugandans is associated with increased sCD14 indicative of monocyte activation in the absence of viral hepatitis or microbial translocation, and suggests that HIV may be directly involved in liver disease.
PMCID: PMC3685686  PMID: 23548102
11.  Antiretroviral Drug Susceptibility Among HIV-Infected Adults Failing Antiretroviral Therapy in Rakai, Uganda 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(12):1739-1744.
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.
PMCID: PMC3505045  PMID: 22443282
12.  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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3448109  PMID: 22283149
13.  Factors Associated with Incorrect Identification of Recent HIV Infection Using the BED Capture Immunoassay 
The BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED-CEIA) was developed for estimating HIV incidence from cross-sectional data. This assay misclassifies some individuals with nonrecent HIV infection as recently infected, leading to overestimation of HIV incidence. We analyzed factors associated with misclassification by the BED-CEIA. We analyzed samples from 383 men who were diagnosed with HIV infection less than 1 year after a negative HIV test (Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study). Samples were collected 2–8 years after HIV seroconversion, which was defined as the midpoint between the last negative and first positive HIV test. Samples were analyzed using the BED-CEIA with a cutoff of OD-n ≤0.8 for recent infection. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with misclassification. Ninety-one (15.1%) of 603 samples were misclassified. In multivariate models, misclassification was independently associated with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) for >2 years, HIV RNA <400 copies/ml, and CD4 cell count <50 or <200 cells/mm3; adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were 4.72 (1.35–16.5), 3.96 (1.53–10.3), 6.85 (2.71–17.4), and 11.5 (3.64–36.0), respectively. Among 220 men with paired samples, misclassification 2–4 years after seroconversion was significantly associated with misclassification 6–8 years after seroconversion [adjusted OR: 25.8 (95% CI: 8.17–81.5), p<0.001] after adjusting for race, CD4 cell count, HIV viral load, and HAART use. Low HIV viral load, low CD4 cell count, and >2 years of HAART were significantly associated with misclassification using the BED-CEIA. Some men were persistently misclassified as recently infected up to 8 years after HIV seroconversion.
PMCID: PMC3399553  PMID: 22014036
14.  Efficiency of CCR5 Coreceptor Utilization by the HIV Quasispecies Increases over Time, But Is Not Associated with Disease Progression 
CCR5 is the primary coreceptor for HIV entry. Early after infection, the HIV viral population diversifies rapidly into a quasispecies. It is not known whether the initial efficiency of the viral quasispecies to utilize CCR5 is associated with HIV disease progression or if it changes in an infected individual over time. The CCR5 and CXCR4 utilization efficiencies (R5-UE and X4-UE) of the HIV quasispecies were examined using a pseudovirus, single-round infection assay for samples obtained from known seroconverters from Rakai district, Uganda (n=88). Initial and longitudinal R5-UE values were examined to assess the association of R5-UE with HIV disease progression using multivariate Cox proportional hazard models. Longitudinal samples were analyzed for 35 seroconverters who had samples available from multiple time points. There was no association between initial or longitudinal changes in R5-UE and the hazard of HIV disease progression (p=0.225 and p=0.942, respectively). In addition, R5-UE increased significantly over time after HIV seroconversion (p<0.001), regardless of HIV subtype or the emergence of CXCR4-tropic virus. These data demonstrate that the R5-UE of the viral quasispecies early in HIV infection is not associated with disease progression, and that R5-UE levels increase in HIV-infected individuals over time.
PMCID: PMC3292754  PMID: 21663455

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