Molecular epidemiology of HIV in Israel

Stephan Gehring, Shlomo Maayan, Horst Ruppach, Peter Balfe, Jolanta Juraszczyk, Israel Yust, Nurith Vardinon, Asaad Rimlawi, Shimon Polak, Zvi Bentwich, Helga Rübsamen-Waigmann, Ursula Dietrich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to identify the HIV types and subtypes prevalent in Israel among different populations in terms of risk or geographic origin of the HIV infection. A total of 149 blood samples were collected from HIV-positive persons from different risk groups for HIV infection who were living in Israel. HIV subtyping was performed by a V3- based peptide enzyme immunoassay, supplemented by direct sequencing of polymerase chain reaction products from the V3 region. Multiple HIV-1 subtypes were shown to circulate in Israel; whereas most of the infections among Israelis and Palestinians were of subtype B, infections among the large Ethiopian population in Israel were caused by HIV-1 subtype C. Occasionally, we found HIV-1 subtypes A and D and a putative B/C recombinant. No HIV-2 infection was identified. Sequence comparisons and phylogenetic tree analyses point at multiple introductions of HIV into the country. The presence of mainly two different HIV-1 subtypes, B and C, in two separated populations in Israel may result in two distinct epidemiologic patterns among HIV-infected individuals in Israel. Subtype C infection among the Ethiopians in Israel opens new research avenues toward better understanding the natural history of infection with HIV-1 subtype C in Ethiopians living in a Western society compared with those living in Ethiopia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-303
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 1997


  • Base sequence
  • HIV-1 subtypes
  • Israel
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Peptide immunoassay


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