The Project “Genomics, socio-behavioral and clinical data to prevent HIV transmission in migrants: an innovative approach”, approved for funding by FCT, (PI: Ana Abecasis, from the THOP Research Group; FCT: PTDC/DTP-EPI/7066/2014), aims to understand the determinants of HIV transmission in specific subepidemics to better prevent HIV spread, through the use of transmission chains from migrant patients involved in transmission networks to identify phylodynamics, biological and behavioral determinants of HIV-1 transmission.
Migration is a major factor influencing the epidemiology of HIV in Europe. The research team aims at collecting socio-behavioral data and genomic sequences of migrants’ HIV infected population, which will allow to analyze the changing pattern of transmission and of antiretroviral therapy drug resistance. Drug resistance in newly diagnosed patients is around 8%, in Europe, however, some regions in Sub-Saharan Africa have a prevalence as high as 11.6%.
Researchers will build mathematical and spatio-temporal models to understand and predict the spread and evolution of the epidemic in migrant populations, as well as of its geographical, temporal and risk group distribution. All results will be integrated in a holistic model in order to guide HIV-1 prevention policies. This consists of a unique and challenging approach, considered of major importance by UNAIDS.