Subtype E HIV-1 is the most prevalent strain in Southeast Asia. Although subtype B is prevalent in Korea, geographical distance and increases in travel may lead to the spread of subtype E in Korea. Therefore, we tried to identify and monitor the patterns of HIV subtype E virus introduction into Korea. The divergence of nucleotide sequences within the envelope region (V3 to V5) of Korean subtype E isolates ranged from 4.3 to 14.6% (n = 8; mean, 9.5 ± 2.8%). In pairwise comparisons of subtype E isolates between Korea and other regions, the divergence of nucleotide sequences between 8 Korean and 16 Asian subtype E variants ranged from 1.3 to 15.2% (mean, 7.8 ± 2.6%), whereas the divergence of nucleotide sequences between 8 Korean and 2 African variants ranged from 11.7 to 20.7% (mean, 15.4 ± 2.2%). A phylogenetic tree showed that Korean subtype E isolates cluster with the Asian isolates but far from the African isolates. These epidemiological and molecular epidemiological data suggest that HIV-1 subtype E strains have been transmitted into Korea from endemic areas of Southeast Asia rather from Africa.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases