Epstein - Barr virus epidemiology in HIV infected transsexuals
Objectives: To molecularly characterise the relationship between Epstein-Barr virus genotypes and Pashtun ethnicity.
Method: The cross-sectional study was conducted from November 2018 to December 2019 after approval from the Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, and comprised blood samples from transgender sex workers who were seropositive for human immunodeficiency virus-1 and seronegative for human immunodeficiency virus residing in two cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Islamabad, the federal capital. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples were collected retrospectively, but collection of blood samples from the study subjects was purely on the basis of physical availability. ?-globin gene and EBER-1 were amplified for qualitative assessment and existence of Epstein-Barr virus. Characterisation of EBNA-2 was done through nested polymerase chain reaction.
Results: Of the 80 subjects, 40(50%) each were seropositive and seronegative individuals. The overall mean age was 28±6.917 years. Among the seropositive group, 38(95%) were homosexual and 2(5%) were heterosexual. Among the seropositive group, 16(40%) had Epstein-Barr virus genotype 1 and 6(15%) had genotype 2, while co-infections were found in 2(5%) subjects. In the seronegative group, 36(90%) subjects had Epstein-Barr virus genotype 1, while there was no case of genotype 2 or co-infection. EBV-2 genotypes with HIV seropositivity showed strong association (p=0.005). Amplification for the EBER-1 gene was done in all the 80(100%) samples.
Conclusion: Epstein-Barr virus EBV genotype 1 was found to be the most frequent type, while genotype 2 and co-infections were detected only seropositive samples.