Prevalences, Genotypes, and Risk Factors for HIV Transmission in South America

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Summary:HIV cross-sectional studies were conducted among high-risk populations in 9 countries of South America. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay screening and Western blot confirmatory testing were performed, and env heteroduplex mobility assay genotyping and DNA sequencing were performed on a subset of HIV-positive subjects. HIV prevalences were highest among men who have sex with men (MSM; 2.0%-27.8%) and were found to be associated with multiple partners, noninjection drug use (non-IDU), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By comparison, much lower prevalences were noted among female commercial sex workers (FCSWs; 0%-6.3%) and were associated mainly with a prior IDU and STI history. Env subtype B predominated among MSM throughout the region (more than 90% of strains), whereas env subtype F predominated among FCSWs in Argentina and male commercial sex workers in Uruguay (more than 50% of strains). A renewed effort in controlling STIs, especially among MSM groups, could significantly lessen the impact of the HIV epidemic in South America.

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