The molecular epidemiology of HIV type 1 among Vietnamese Australian injecting drug users in Melbourne, Australia

Claire E Ryan, Julian H Elliott, Tracey Middleton, Anne M Mijch, Alan C Street, Margaret Hellard, Nick Crofts, Suzanne Mary Crowe, Robert B Oelrichs

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The proportion of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) among Vietnamese injecting drug users (IDUs) in Melbourne, Australia exceeds that of the background population. To investigate the molecular epidemiology of HIV-1 among this group, the C2-V4 region of the HIV-1 envelope was directly sequenced from 11 Vietnamese Australians and 19 non-Vietnamese Australian controls. A significant difference in the distribution of the HIV-1 subtypes was demonstrated, with greater than 50 of Vietnamese Australian IDU shown to be infected with CRF01_AE-the predominant subtype in Southeast Asia, rather than subtype B, which dominates the Australian epidemic and which was found in 89.5 of the non-Vietnamese controls. The genetic diversity of the CRF01_AE epidemic in Vietnamese Australian IDUs was substantially lower that that of the background subtype B, consistent with a more recent introduction of a limited number of viral strains from Vietnam. These results support public health policy targeting Australian IDUs of Vietnamese ethnicity as a distinct vulnerable population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1364 - 1367
Number of pages4
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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