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August 21, 1996

Identification of HIV-1 Group O Infection—1996

JAMA. 1996;276(7):521-522. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540070017009

THE STRAINS of HIV-1 that have caused the worldwide pandemic of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been designated as group M viruses. A group of HIV-1 viruses that also cause AIDS but that are characterized by extensive genetic divergence from group M strains have been identified recently and classified as group O viruses. Group O viruses or serologic evidence of group O infection have been reported in patients from West and Central Africa (Cameroon, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo), nationals of these countries living in Europe, and one French national.1-4 The antibody response elicited by group O strains is not consistently detected by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) kits commercially available in Europe and the United States.4,5 This report describes a patient in Los Angeles County, California, with recently confirmed HIV-1 group O infection in whom HIV infection was not detected consistently by standard HIV