, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 515-525
Date: 24 Dec 2008

HIV infection in India: Epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis

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Abstract

The year 1986 saw first case of HIV infection as well as first report of AIDS case in India. Since then the epidemic has spread throughout the country. In the recent years there is evidence of epidemic being stabilized with decrease in new infections reported from some parts of the country. The absolute number of HIV infections in the country is expected to be close to 2.5 million and National AIDS Control Programme, phase III is geared to contain the epidemic. HIV viruses circulating in India predominantly belong to HIV-1 subtype C. However, there have been occasional reports of HIV-1 subtype A and B. Matter of concern is reports of A/C and B/C mosaic viruses that are being reported from different parts of the country. The data on HIV drug resistance from India is rather limited. Most of the studies have shown that the virus strains from drug naïve patients do not show significant level of drug resistance mutations. The few immunological studies in Indian patients show that the Indian HIV infected patients show both HIV-specific CTL responses as well as neutralizing antibody response. Mapping of CTL epitopes showed that while Indian patients identify same regions of Gag antigen as recognized by South African subtype C infected patients, some regions are uniquely recognized by Indian patients. There are very few studies on host genetic factors in India in context with HIV infection. However there are evidences reported of association of host genetic factors such as HLA types and haplotypes and HIV disease.