High frequency of HIV-1 dual infections among HIV-positive individuals in Cameroon, West Central Africa

Rebecca L.R. Powell, Mateusz M. Urbanski, Sherri Burda, Thompson Kinge, Phillipe N. Nyambi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To determine the frequency of dual inter- and intra-subtype HIV-1 infection among a cohort of 64 longitudinally-studied, HIV-1-positive individuals in Yaoundé, Cameroon. METHODS: Blood was collected every 3-6 months for up to 36 months and RNA was extracted from plasma. Gag fragment (HxB2 location 1577-2040) was amplified by nested RT-PCR, and mixed-time-point Heteroduplex Assays (HDAs) were performed. As heteroduplexes in this assay indicate ≥5% genetic discordance in the gag fragment, their presence reveals dual infection. Results were confirmed by phylogenetic analysis. RESULTS: Heteroduplexes were generated by specimens of 10 subjects (15.6%). Kaplan-Meier nonparametric estimate of maintenance of single infection was calculated; the rate/year of a 2 infection was found to be ~11%. Dual infection was identified in the final specimens of five subjects, after as much as 18 months follow-up, while for the remaining five subjects, dual infection was identified in interim specimens within an average of 10 months follow-up. Analysis of samples obtained after dual infection from each of these latter five subjects revealed two patterns: reversion to initial strain, or replacement of initial strain. Four subjects were dually-infected with HIV-1 strains of the same subtype, while 6 were infected with different subtypes. CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence of recombinant HIV-1 strains in Cameroon may in part be explained by the high frequency of dual infection. In this genetically-diverse HIV-1 milieu, dual infections and the recombinant viruses they generate are strongly driving viral evolution, complicating vaccine strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • CRFs
  • Cameroon
  • Dual infection
  • HIV-1
  • Recombinants
  • Serosorting


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