Sivay MV, Palumbo PJ, Zhang Y, Cummings V, Guo X, Hamilton EL, McKinstry L, Ogendo A, Kayange N, Panchia R, Dominguez K, Chen YQ, Sandfort TGM, Eshleman SH. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Drug Resistance, Phylogenetic Analysis, and Superinfection Among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Women in Sub-Saharan Africa: HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 075 Study. Clin Infect Dis. 2021, 73: 60-67. PMC8246905
Background: The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) 075 study evaluated the feasibility of enrolling and retaining men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women (TGW) from Kenya, Malawi, and South Africa. During the study follow-up, 21 participants acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (seroconverters). We analyzed HIV subtype diversity, drug resistance, transmission dynamics, and HIV superinfection data among MSM and TGW enrolled in HPTN 075. Methods: HIV genotyping and drug resistance testing were performed for participants living with HIV who had viral loads >400 copies/mL at screening (prevalent cases, n = 124) and seroconverters (n = 21). HIV pol clusters were identified using Cluster Picker. Superinfection was assessed by a longitudinal analysis of env and pol sequences generated by next-generation sequencing. Results: HIV genotyping was successful for 123/124 prevalent cases and all 21 seroconverters. The major HIV subtypes were A1 (Kenya) and C (Malawi and South Africa). Major drug resistance mutations were detected in samples from 21 (14.6%) of 144 participants; the most frequent mutations were K103N and M184V/I. Phylogenetic analyses identified 11 clusters (2-6 individuals). Clusters included seroconverters only (n = 1), prevalent cases and seroconverters (n = 4), and prevalent cases only (n = 6). Superinfections were identified in 1 prevalent case and 2 seroconverters. The annual incidence of superinfection was higher among seroconverters than among prevalent cases, and was higher than the rate of primary HIV infection in the cohort. Conclusions: This report provides important insights into HIV genetic diversity, drug resistance, and superinfection among MSM and TGW in sub-Saharan Africa. These findings may help to inform future HIV prevention interventions in these high-risk groups. Keywords: HIV drug resistance; men who have sex with men; phylogenetic analysis; sub-Saharan Africa; transgender women.