The spread of HIV locally is largely due to the contributions of young, white homosexual men who indulge in high-risk behavior, reports new research.
Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium compared the genetic information of viruses isolated from more than 500 patients - male and female, gay and straight, Caucasian and non-Caucasian - who were newly diagnosed at an HIV screening clinic between 2001 and 2009.
"Clusters of viruses are indicative for the local onward transmission of this particular viral strain," Dr. Chris Verhofstede said.
"We also found that clustered viruses are more frequently isolated from young Caucasian men who have sex with men and who have a high prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases," he added.
This means that a significant number of new HIV infections in the region occur as a result of high-risk behaviour between young white homosexual men.
Verhofstede and co-workers suggest further research to allow the design of more targeted prevention programs focused on this group.