New research has found that young white homosexual men may have an important contribution in the local spread of HIV.
Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium compared the genetic information of viruses isolated from more than 500 patients — male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, 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 said.
This means a significant number of new HIV infections in the region occur as a result of high-risk behaviour among young white homosexual men.