Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have mapped the transmission network of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in San Diego. The mapping of HIV infections, which used genetic sequencing, allowed researchers to predictively model the likelihood of new HIV transmissions and identify persons at greatest risk for transmitting the virus. The findings are published online in the June 5 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
“The more we understand the structure and dynamics of an HIV transmission network, the better we can identify ‘hot spots’ of transmission,” said Susan Little, MD, professor of medicine at the UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center and lead author of the study. Through network modeling, investigators showed that using this information to deploy antiretroviral therapy (ART) to individuals with the highest TNS resulted in a significantly greater likelihood of reduced new HIV-1 transmissions than providing ART to the same number of randomly selected individuals.
“Focusing our prevention and treatment resources to the populations at greatest risk of transmission could dramatically reduce the number of new infections associated with these populations,” said Little. “Used in conjunction with traditional partner services, TNS-guided treatment and prevention interventions could markedly lower rates of new HIV infection in our community.”