Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in Ireland: Phylogenetic evidence for risk group-specific subepidemics

Cillian F. De Gascun, Allison Waters, Ciara M. Regan, Jane O'Halloran, Gillian Farrell, Suzie Coughlan, Colm Bergin, William G. Powderly, William W. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


HIV genetic diversity may have an impact on viral pathogenesis, transmission, response to treatment, and vaccine development. Public health surveillance that monitors the frequency and variety of HIV subtypes in a particular region or patient group is vital to successfully control the pandemic. We present the first comprehensive report on HIV diversity in Ireland. This study comprised all new HIV-1 diagnoses that were confirmed in the National Virus Reference Laboratory, University College Dublin, from January 2004 to December 2008. HIV 1 protease and reverse transcriptase sequences were generated using the Siemens Trugene HIV 1 Genotyping System. Subtypes were determined using web-based genotyping tools. There were 1579 new diagnoses [615 (39%) female and 964 (61%) male], of which 1060 had HIV-1 RNA specimens available for sequencing. Of sequenced samples, HIV-1 subtype B accounted for 50% overall, decreasing from 55.1% in 2004 to 49.5% in 2008. In addition, subtype B accounted for more than 80% of Irish-born individuals and more than 90% of Irish-born injection drug users and men who have sex with men. Subtype C was the second most prevalent in the overall cohort, accounting for 25%, although it accounted for only 6.1% of Irish-born individuals, with no evidence of in country transmission. The prevalence of non-subtype B HIV-1 infection in Ireland is increasing. However, these appear primarily to be imported infections not yet circulating within traditional Irish risk groups. Enhanced HIV-1 molecular epidemiology surveillance is required to monitor the spread of HIV-1, to inform future public health policy, and to ultimately control the HIV-1 epidemic in Ireland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-881
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS research and human retroviruses
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012


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