Dual Infection Contributes to Rapid Disease Progression in Men Who Have Sex With Men in China

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Abstract

Background:

Considerable numbers of HIV-1–infected men who have sex with men (MSM) show a relatively rapid disease progression in China; however, the cause remains elusive. HIV-1 dual infection was reported to occur commonly among the MSM population, and its contribution to clinical prognosis remains controversial. We investigated the occurrence and impact on disease progression of dual infection in a prospective MSM cohort in China.

Methods:

Sixty-four HIV-1 early-infected participants were longitudinally followed up for 2 years. Deep sequencing was used as dual-infection screening. CD4+ T-cell counts and HIV-1 viral load were compared between coinfection and single-infection participants and pre- versus post-superinfection.

Results:

Eight coinfected participants and 10 superinfected participants were identified, including 9 participants with intersubtype and 9 with intrasubtype dual infections. The prevalence of coinfection was 13.1%, with a superinfection incidence of 15.6%. Coinfection participants showed lower CD4+ T-cell counts at 120 days after infection (P = 0.042) and a higher viral set point tendency (P = 0.053) as compared with single-infection participants. Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that the time for the viral load to increase to above 4 log10 copies per milliliter was shorter in coinfection participants than in single-infection participants (P < 0.001). After superinfection, the median CD4+ T-cell count decreased from 635 to 481 cells/μL (P = 0.027).

Conclusions:

The occurrence of dual infection among Chinese MSM is relatively high, and HIV-1 dual infection might contribute to rapid disease progression seen in the MSM population.

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