Open Access Open Badges Research article

Prevalence, genetic diversity and antiretroviral drugs resistance-associated mutations among untreated HIV-1-infected pregnant women in Gabon, central Africa

Mélanie Caron1, Sonia Etenna Lekana-Douki1, Maria Makuwa1, Guy-Patrick Obiang-Ndong2, Olivia Biba2, Dieudonné Nkoghé13 and Mirdad Kazanji14*

Author Affiliations

1 Unité de Rétrovirologie, Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Franceville BP 769, Gabon

2 Programme National de lutte contre le SIDA, Libreville BP 50, Gabon

3 Ministère de la Santé, Libreville BP 5879, Gabon

4 Institut Pasteur de Bangui, Réseau International des Instituts Pasteur, Bangui BP 923, Central African Republic

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-64

Published: 20 March 2012



In Africa, the wide genetic diversity of HIV has resulted in emergence of new strains, rapid spread of this virus in sub-Saharan populations and therefore spread of the HIV epidemic throughout the continent.


To determine the prevalence of antibodies to HIV among a high-risk population in Gabon, 1098 and 2916 samples were collected from pregnant women in 2005 and 2008, respectively. HIV genotypes were evaluated in 107 HIV-1-positive samples to determine the circulating subtypes of strains and their resistance to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).


The seroprevalences were 6.3% in 2005 and 6.0% in 2008. The main subtype was recombinant CRF02_AG (46.7%), followed by the subtypes A (19.6%), G (10.3%), F (4.7%), H (1.9%) and D (0.9%) and the complex recombinants CRF06_cpx (1.9%) and CRF11_cpx (1.9%); 12.1% of subtypes could not be characterized. Analysis of ARVs resistance to the protease and reverse transcriptase coding regions showed mutations associated with extensive subtype polymorphism. In the present study, the HIV strains showed reduced susceptibility to ARVs (2.8%), particularly to protease inhibitors (1.9%) and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (0.9%).


The evolving genetic diversity of HIV calls for continuous monitoring of its molecular epidemiology in Gabon and in other central African countries.

HIV-1; Prevalence; Genetic diversity; Resistance to antiretroviral drugs; Untreated pregnant women; Gabon; Central Africa