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Social meets molecular: Combining phylogenetic and latent class analyses to understand HIV-1 transmission in Switzerland.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Avila Dorita, Keiser Olivia, Egger Matthias, Kouyos Roger, Böni Jürg, Yerly Sabine, Klimkait Thomas, Vernazza Pietro L, Aubert Vincent, Rauch Andri, Bonhoeffer Sebastian, Günthard Huldrych F, Stadler Tanja, Spycher Ben D,
Project Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal American journal of epidemiology
Volume (Issue) 179(12)
Page(s) 1514 - 25
Title of proceedings American journal of epidemiology
DOI 10.1093/aje/kwu076

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Switzerland has a complex human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic involving several populations. We examined transmission of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) in a national cohort study. Latent class analysis was used to identify socioeconomic and behavioral groups among 6,027 patients enrolled in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study between 2000 and 2011. Phylogenetic analysis of sequence data, available for 4,013 patients, was used to identify transmission clusters. Concordance between sociobehavioral groups and transmission clusters was assessed in correlation and multiple correspondence analyses. A total of 2,696 patients were infected with subtype B, 203 with subtype C, 196 with subtype A, and 733 with recombinant subtypes (mainly CRF02_AG and CRF01_AE). Latent class analysis identified 8 patient groups. Most transmission clusters of subtype B were shared between groups of gay men (groups 1-3) or between the heterosexual groups "heterosexual people of lower socioeconomic position" (group 4) and "injection drug users" (group 8). Clusters linking homosexual and heterosexual groups were associated with "older heterosexual and gay people on welfare" (group 5). "Migrant women in heterosexual partnerships" (group 6) and "heterosexual migrants on welfare" (group 7) shared non-B clusters with groups 4 and 5. Combining approaches from social and molecular epidemiology can provide insights into HIV-1 transmission and inform the design of prevention strategies.