Diversification of Subtype E Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1envin Heterosexual Seroconverters from Northern Thailand

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The C2-V3 region of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 env was determined from 15 northern Thailand seroconverters between 1993 and 1995. Similar sequences were also determined from 18 seroconverting injection drug users in Baltimore. All seroconverters from northern Thailand were infected with subtype E HIV-1 on the basis of env sequences. Intersubject viral DNA distances increased from 2.3% in asymptomatic HIV-1-infected subjects characterized between 1990 and 1992 to 7.8% in these more recent seroconverters from Thailand. On the other hand, sequences from 18 seroconverters from Baltimore had a mean intersubject distance of 13.2%. The genetic diversity within HIV-1 subtype E in seroconverters in Thailand has increased significantly but is still less than that observed in HIV-1 from seroconverters in the United States, where the epidemic of HIV-1 infection is more mature. These results suggest that continued monitoring of the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 infection in Thailand will be important for HIV vaccine development and evaluation.

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