An analysis into the ongoing HIV outbreak in Glasgow among people who inject drugs has been published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The report states that in 2015 a sharp rise in HIV diagnoses was noted among people who inject drugs: many were subtype C with two identical drug resistant mutations and some displayed low avidity, suggesting the infections were linked and recent.
All 104 outbreak sequences originated from Scotland and contained E138A and V179E and mean time between transmissions was 6.7 months. The average number of onward transmissions consistently exceeded 1, indicating that spread was ongoing.
In contrast to other recent HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs, harm reduction services were not clearly reduced in Scotland. Nonetheless, the high proportion of individuals with a history of homelessness (45%) suggests that services were inadequate for those in precarious living situations. The high prevalence of Hepatitis C (>90%) is indicative of sharing of injecting equipment.
The report concludes that monitoring the epidemic phylogenetically in real-time may accelerate public health action.