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International Journal of Infectious Diseases: Volume 3, Number 4
Lack of Association between Acquisition of TT Virus and Risk Behavior for HIV and HCV Infection in Vietnam
Vivek R. Nerurkar, PhD; Cora L. Woodward, BS; Hien T. Nguyen, MD; F. DeWolfe Miller, PhD; Lance T. Tashima, BA; Alexandra Zalles-Ganley, BA; Pong K. Chua, BS; Jon E. Peterson, PhD; Pham K. Chi, BSc; Long T. Hoang, MD, PhD; Roger Detels, MD;# and Richard Yanagihara, MD

Int J Infect Dis 1999; 3:181-185.

Background: The search for the cause of chronic hepatitis among individuals with non-A to G hepatitis has led to the discovery of a post-transfusion hepatitis-related DNA virus, designated TT virus (TTV), which, based on viral sequences, belongs to a new virus family. The principal modes of infection with TTV are poorly understood, and its role in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is unclear. Objective: To determine if injection drug use (IDU) and high-risk heterosexual activity (HRHA), principal modes of acquiring HIV-1 infection, place individuals at greater risk of acquiring TTV. Methods: The authors analyzed DNA, extracted from sera or filter paper-blotted whole blood, obtained during August 1997 and June 1998 from 324 Vietnamese (148 male; 176 female), for TTV sequences by hot-start, heminested polymerase chain reaction. Results: Prevalence of TTV viremia was similar among individuals engaging in IDU or HRHA (23.4% vs. 20.2%; P > 0.5), with no age- or gender-specific differences. No association was found between TTV viremia and co-infection with HIV-1 or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Phylogenetic analysis of 30 TTV sequences revealed two distinct genotypes and four subtypes that did not segregate according to gender, HIV-1 and HCV risk behaviors, or geographic residence. Conclusions: Among HIV-1- or HCV-infected Vietnamese, who presumably acquired their infection by either the parenteral or nonparenteral route, the data indicate no clear association between acquisition of TTV infection and risk behavior for HIV-1 or HCV infection, suggesting that the usual route of TTV transmission in Vietnam is other than parenteral or sexual.

KEYWORDS: Circoviridae, circovirus, HCV, hepatitis, HIV, IDU, nucleotide sequence, phylogeny, post-transfusion

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