Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 ((HIV-1) Subtypes in the Northwest Region,Cameroon
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Background: The high genetic diversity of HIV-1 has been shown to influence the global distribution, disease progression, treatment success, and the development of an effective vaccine. Despite the low HIV prevalence in Cameroon, all the major HIV subtypes alongside several circulating recombinant forms (CRFs) and unique recombinant forms (URFs) have been reported in Cameroon. To date, HIV-1 diversity in some parts of Cameroon has been largely studied however, information on circulating HIV-1 subtypes in the Northwest region (NWR) of Cameroon is dearth. Therefore the aim of this study was to determine the current circulating HIV-1 subtypes among adults in the NWR of Cameroon. Methods: The genetic analysis of the reverse transcriptase region of the pol gene was performed on 81 samples. The samples were collected from drug naïve patients aged between 18 and 61 years residing within the rural and urban towns in the NWR during the period between February and April 2016. Viral RNA was extracted from plasma, reverse-transcribed, further amplified by nested-PCR before sequencing using an in-house protocol. Generated sequences were then phylogenetically analyzed together with references using MEGA 7. Results: Phylogenetic analysis revealed a broad viral diversity including CRF02 _AG (74.1%), F2 (7.4%), D (7.4%), G (3.7%), A1 (1.2%), CRF22_01A1 (2.5%), CRF06_cpx (1.2%), CRF09_cpx (1.2%), CRF11_cpx (1.2%). Three close epidemic clusters were found among F2 (1) and CRF02_AG (2) variants. For the first time we are reporting the CRF22_01A1 subtype in this region. Conclusion: Our findings update HIV-1 subtypes information in Cameroon and uphold previous studies that CRF02_AG is the most prevalent subtype. This CRF02_AG subtype may have important public health, research, and clinical consequences.