close Icon

CRF01_AE dominates the HIV-1 epidemic in Indonesia.

Merati TP, Ryan CE, Spelmen T, Wirawan DN, Bakta IM, Otto B, Oelrichs RB, Crowe SM

  • Journal Sexual health

  • Published 09 Apr 2013

  • Volume 9

  • ISSUE 5

  • Pagination 414-21

  • DOI 10.1071/SH11121


The HIV epidemic in Indonesia remains concentrated in vulnerable populations, namely injecting drug users (IDUs), commercial sex workers (CSWs) and men who have sex with men (MSM). We aimed to determine the HIV-1 subtypes present in Indonesia and to establish the extent of the viral overlap between individuals with different risk factors.

Venous blood samples were collected from HIV-positive individuals primarily from sexually transmissible infection clinics and drug rehabilitation centres in Bali and Jakarta, and applied to filter paper. A polymerase chain reaction-based assay designed to amplify a 330-bp region of the HIV-1 envelope was used to determine HIV-1 subtype result and to perform phylogenetic analysis.

Of the 175 individuals recruited to the study, a subtype result was obtained for 108 (62%). Four subtypes were found to exist in the population, CRF01_AE (n=96, 88.9%), B (n=10, 9.3%), C (n=1, 0.9%) and G (n=1, 0.9%). Of these 108 individuals, 65 (60%) were IDUs, and the remaining 40% were CSWs, MSM, transgender individuals, people with multiple sexual partners or those with no obvious risk factor. CRF01_AE was found to be more common among IDUs with 100% of individuals infected with this subtype. Subtype B was more common among MSM and CSWs (P=<0.001). Phylogenetic analysis revealed a lack of viral segregation between risk groups.

In Indonesia, CRF01_AE continues to dominate the HIV epidemic, although HIV subtype B is responsible for a significant number of sexually acquired infections.