Tracing the Regional Rise of HIV

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Science  09 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5988, pp. 161
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5988.161

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Abundant epidemiologic evidence shows that the HIV epidemic that has startled Eastern Europe traces back to Odessa, Ukraine, in the early 1990s, right on the heels of the fall of the Soviet Union and the resultant economic, cultural, and political upheaval. Without question, injecting drug users drove it. And detailed molecular analyses later revealed that HIV strains isolated in Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, and other countries in the former Soviet Union evolved from the southern Ukrainian strains. But the factors behind the explosion of HIV in this region remain elusive.