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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 810617, 8 pages
Research Article

Circulation of HIV-1 CRF02_AG among MSM Population in Central Italy: A Molecular Epidemiology-Based Study

1Department of Infectious Parasitic and Immunomediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
2HIV/AIDS Unit, San Gallicano Dermatological Institute (IRCCS), Rome, Italy
3University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
4National Institute for Infectious Diseases L. Spallanzani, Rome, Italy
5Department of Clinical Sciences, L. Sacco, University of Milan, Italy

Received 10 August 2013; Revised 22 October 2013; Accepted 23 October 2013

Academic Editor: Marcelo A. Soares

Copyright © 2013 Massimo Giuliani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. The evolutionary and demographic history of the circular recombinant form CRF02_AG in a selected retrospective group of HIV-1 infected men who have sex with men (MSM) resident in Central Italy was investigated. Methods. A total of 55 HIV-1 subtype CRF02_AG pol sequences were analyzed using Bayesian methods and a relaxed molecular clock to reconstruct their dated phylogeny and estimate population dynamics. Results. Dated phylogeny indicated that the HIV-1 CRF02_AG strains currently circulating in Central Italy originated in the early 90's. Bayesian phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of a main HIV-1 CRF02_AG clade, introduced in the area of Rome before 2000 and subsequently differentiated in two different subclades with a different date of introduction (2000 versus 2005). All the sequences within clusters were interspersed, indicating that the MSM analyzed form a close and restricted network where the individuals, also moving within different clinical centers, attend the same places to meet and exchange sex. Conclusions. It was suggested that the HIV-1 CRF02_AG epidemic entered central Italy in the early 1990s, with a similar trend observed in western Europe.