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AIDS Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 154945, 13 pages
Review Article

The Use of Bioinformatics for Studying HIV Evolutionary and Epidemiological History in South America

1Laboratório de Imunologia e Aids, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 21040-360 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
2Instituto de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-590 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Departamento de Genética, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, 21941-902 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4Programa de Genética, Instituto Nacional de Câncer, 20231-050 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 27 May 2011; Accepted 19 August 2011

Academic Editor: Christina Ramirez Kitchen

Copyright © 2011 Gonzalo Bello 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.


The South American human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) epidemic is driven by several subtypes (B, C, and F1) and circulating and unique recombinant forms derived from those subtypes. Those variants are heterogeneously distributed around the continent in a country-specific manner. Despite some inconsistencies mainly derived from sampling biases and analytical constrains, most of studies carried out in the area agreed in pointing out specificities in the evolutionary dynamics of the circulating HIV-1 lineages. In this paper, we covered the theoretical basis, and the application of bioinformatics methods to reconstruct the HIV spatial-temporal dynamics, unveiling relevant information to understand the origin, geographical dissemination and the current molecular scenario of the HIV epidemic in the continent, particularly in the countries of Southern Cone.