Background: Several population-wide HIV-1 subtype distribution studies in Uganda have evaluated relatively healthy clinic patients. Given the differences in HIV-1 disease progression based on subtype, we examined HIV-1 subtype distribution and disease outcomes among hospitalized patients with severe sepsis. Methods: Patients with severe sepsis were enrolled at two hospitals in Uganda. Data collected included demographics, Karnofsky scores, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use, HIV-1 serostatus, CD4+ T cell concentration, whole blood lactate concentration, and blood cultures. HIV-1 subtypes were determined by sequencing parts of the gag and env genes, followed by phylogenetic analysis. Results: Of the 267 patients evaluated, 228 (85.4%) were HIV infected. The predominant HIV-1 subtypes were A (46%), D (17%), and AD recombinants (30%). HIV-1 subtypes B, C, and other recombinants were uncommon. Patients infected with HIV-1 subtypes A, D and AD viruses were similar in demographics, CD4+ T cell concentration, HAART use, Karnofsky scores, whole blood lactate concentration, and positive blood cultures. There was no difference in 30-day mortality from severe sepsis between the 3 groups (p = 0.99). Conclusion: A high proportion of HIV-1 subtypes A and AD recombinants was observed in this cohort of severely septic patients. The proportion of AD recombinants was higher in this cohort than in previous cohorts of Ugandan HIV-1 patients. No difference in baseline demographics, clinical factors or 30-day mortality was seen across HIV-subtypes.
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