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Subtype-specific differences in transmission cluster dynamics of HIV-1 B and CRF01_AE in New South Wales, Australia


We identified 104 subtype B and 11 CRF01_AE growing clusters containing a maximum of 29 and 11 sequences for subtype B and CRF01_AE respectively. We observed a > 2-fold increase in the number of NSW-specific CRF01_AE clades over time. Subtype B clusters were associated with individuals reporting men who have sex with men (MSM) as their transmission risk factor, being born in Australia, and being diagnosed during the early stage of infection (p < 0.01). CRF01_AE infections clusters were associated with infections among individuals diagnosed during the early stage of infection (p < 0.05) and CRF01_AE singletons were more likely to be from infections among individuals reporting heterosexual transmission (p < 0.05). We found six subtype B clusters with an above-average growth rate (>1.5 sequences / 6-months) and which consisted of a majority of infections among MSM. We also found four active growing CRF01_AE clusters containing only infections among MSM. Finally, we found 47 subtype B and seven CRF01_AE clusters that contained a large gap in time (>1 year) between infections and may be indicative of intermediate transmissions via undiagnosed individuals.

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