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Genetic Diversity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 in the Democratic Republic of Congo: a review of available data

Background: HIV has a genetic diversity that is equal to the complexity of the follow up of patients. The classification of the different variants has allowed us to understand the virus, the geographical distribution and evolution of the pandemic and to better guide the follow up and the care of patients infected by HIV.

Aim & Objectives: Review the specifics of the HIV epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in terms of different molecular variants of HIV compared to different geographical location published for the country.

Methods/Study Design: The search of the literature and abstracts presented at conferences with the subject of interest to identify different variants of HIV type 1 in the DRC on the websites of research. Online search was based on the following key words: "HIV subtype, DRC", "genotype, HIV, DRC" and "HIV strains in the Democratic Republic of Congo". It was restricted to the published literatures and presented abstracts between 1997 and 2012. Socio-demographic information of the sample, measurement methods and objectives were considered in the evaluation of the search results.

Results/Findings: According to manuscripts published since 1997, we have noticed a dominating prevalence of group M (100%) and of sub-type A at 50.40% [31.2-68.9] for the entire country. In the Eastern part, variants A (44.73%) are dominant on variants C (12.20%), G (11.5%), D (9.12%) and U (7.24%). In the Center, variants A (62.57%) are followed by variants C (10.32%), H (5.02%), U (4.3%) and D (3.9%). In the Western part, variants A (40.91%) are followed by variants G (19.29%), D (10.5%), F (5.65%) and C (4.51%). For the entire country, variants are found in the following order: A (49.40%), G (10.73%), C (9.01%) and D (7.86%). The differences between and within groups are statistically significant for each variants.

Conclusion: Several variants of HIV type 1 circulates throughout the DRC. The most prevalent strains (A, G, C and D) in the DRC are all of Group M (Major). The high number of recombinant forms (CRFs) shows the diversity and dynamics of the virus in this country. This diversity will quickly become a big problem for the fight against HIV in the DRC.

Author(s): Kamangu Ntambwe Erick , Kabututu Zakayi , Mvumbi Lelo Georges , Kalala Lunganza Richard , Mesia Kahunu Gauthier

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