Molecular Epidemiology Identifies HIV Transmission Networks Associated With Younger Age and Heterosexual Exposure Among Korean Individuals

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To evaluate if HIV transmission networks could be elucidated from data collected in a short time frame, 131 HIV-1 pol sequences were analyzed which were generated from treatment-naïve Korean individuals who were sequentially identified over 1 year. A transmission linkage was inferred when there was a genetic distance <1.5% and a total of 16 clusters, involving 39/131 (29.8%), were identified. Younger age and heterosexual exposure were independently related with clustering in the inferred network, which demonstrated that molecular epidemiology with currently generated data (i.e., drug resistance genotypes) can be used to identify local transmission networks, even over a short timeframe.

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