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High prevalence and viremia of human pegivirus 2 in the HIV-infected population in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan Province

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Human pegivirus 2 (HPgV-2) is a recently recognized pegivirus of the family Flaviviridae. To investigate the epidemic features of HPgV-2 circulating in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected population, we tested for antibodies and viral RNA of HPgV-2 and hepatitis C virus (HCV) with retrospective plasma samples collected from 771 HIV infections with multiple risk behaviors in Honghe Prefecture of Yunnan Province. A total of 195 subjects (25.29%) were seroreactive to HPgV-2, and 41 (5.32%) were RNA positive. Although the positive rate of HPgV-2 antibodies in HIV/HCV-coinfected individuals (27.69%) was significantly higher than that of HIV monoinfections (20.82%) (p = 0.036), this is the first report of HPgV-2 viremia in HIV-infected individuals without HCV infection and the presence of two HPgV-2 lineages in China. Our data indicate that HPgV-2 can also be transmitted sexually, which might be facilitated when combined with HCV infection, injecting drug use, and risky sexual behavior, which appear to have a synergistic effect on HPgV-2 infection. Phylogenetic analysis of 26 near-full-length genome sequences showed that the HPgV-2 strains in China are divided into two clusters.

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This work was supported by Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Project (Grant no. D141100000314001) and National Key S&T Special Projects (Grant no. 2018ZX10721102-006).

Author information

TL, ZB, YL, HL, JH, YT, YS and NW conducted the experiments; ST and ZW contributed reagents; TL, JL, XW and ZP analyzed the data; and JL, LL and TL wrote the paper.

Correspondence to Lin Li or Ning Wang or Jingyun Li.

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Li, T., Tang, S., Su, Y. et al. High prevalence and viremia of human pegivirus 2 in the HIV-infected population in Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan Province. Arch Virol 165, 619–626 (2020).

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