The Prevalence of Diverse HIV-1 Strains Was Stable in Cameroonian Blood Donors From 1996 to 2004


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Abstract

Objective:The HIV epidemic in Cameroon is characterized by a high level of strain diversity despite a relatively low prevalence of infection. In this study, HIV strains infecting blood donors in Cameroon were characterized to determine the prevalence of subtypes and intersubtype recombinants and if strain prevalence was changing over time.Methods:From 1996 through 2004, 676 HIV-infected blood donations were collected at blood banks in Douala and Yaoundé, Cameroon. A subset of the HIV-1 group M strains (n = 574) were classified based on phylogenetic analysis of viral sequences from the gag p24, pol integrase, and env gp41 regions.Results:HIV-1 group M accounted for 97.3% (n = 658) of infections, whereas group O was present in 2.2% (n = 15) and HIV-2 in 0.4% (n = 3). Within the group M infections, 14 subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) and unique recombinant forms (URFs) were identified. Overall, CRF02_AG accounted for 58.2% of infections, URFs 14.8%, and levels of subtypes, A, B, C, D, F2, and G, and CRFs, 01, 06, 09, 11, 13, 22, and 37, varied from 0.2% to 6.1%. Evaluation of HIV strains present in the donor population over this 9-year period showed no substantial changes in the proportion of infections caused by each subtype and CRF, the percentage of intersubtype recombinants, or the strain composition of the URFs.Conclusions:HIV-1 strain diversity in Cameroon did not significantly change, suggesting a mature and relatively stable epidemic.

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