The epidemiology and clinical correlates of HIV-1 co-receptor tropism in non-subtype B infections from India, Uganda and South Africa

BACKGROUND: The introduction of C-C chemokine receptor type-5 (CCR5) antagonists as antiretroviral therapy has led to the need to study HIV co-receptor tropism in different HIV-1 subtypes and geographical locations. This study was undertaken to evaluate HIV-1 co-receptor tropism in the developing world where non-B subtypes predominate, in order to assess the therapeutic and prophylactic potential of CCR5 antagonists in these regions. METHODS: HIV-1-infected patients were recruited into this prospective, cross-sectional, epidemiologic study from HIV clinics in South Africa, Uganda and India. Patients were infected with subtypes C (South Africa, India) or A or D (Uganda). HIV-1 subtype and co-receptor tropism were determined and analyzed with disease characteristics, including viral load and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell counts. RESULTS: CCR5-tropic (R5) HIV-1 was detected in 96% of treatment-naive (TN) and treatment-experienced (TE) patients in India, 71% of TE South African patients, and 86% (subtype A/A1) and 71% (subtype D) of TN and TE Ugandan patients. Dual/mixed-tropic HIV-1 was found in 4% of Indian, 25% of South African and 13% (subtype A/A1) and 29% (subtype D) of Ugandan patients. Prior antiretroviral treatment was associated with decreased R5 tropism; however, this decrease was less in subtype C from India (TE: 94%, TN: 97%) than in subtypes A (TE: 59%; TN: 91%) and D (TE: 30%; TN: 79%). R5 virus infection in all three subtypes correlated with higher CD4+ count. CONCLUSIONS: R5 HIV-1 was predominant in TN individuals with HIV-1 subtypes C, A, and D and TE individuals with subtypes C and A. Higher CD4+ count correlated with R5 prevalence, while treatment experience was associated with increased non-R5 infection in all subtypes.