Estimating the potential to prevent locally acquired HIV infections in a UNAIDS Fast-Track City, Amsterdam

Amsterdam and other UNAIDS Fast-Track cities aim for zero new HIV infections. Utilising molecular and clinical data of the ATHENA observational HIV cohort, our primary aims are to estimate the proportion of undiagnosed HIV infections and the proportion of locally acquired infections in Amsterdam in 2014-2018, both in MSM and heterosexuals and Dutch-born and foreign-born individuals. We located diagnosed HIV infections in Amsterdam using postcode data at time of registration to the cohort, and estimated their date of infection using clinical HIV data. We then inferred the proportion undiagnosed from the estimated times to diagnosis. To determine sources of Amsterdam infections, we used HIV sequences of people living with HIV (PLHIV) within a background of other Dutch and international sequences to phylogenetically reconstruct transmission chains. Frequent late diagnoses indicate that more recent phylogenetically observed chains are increasingly incomplete, and we use a Bayesian model to estimate the actual growth of Amsterdam transmission chains, and the proportion of locally acquired infections. We estimate that 20% [95% CrI 18-22%] of infections acquired among MSM between 2014-2018 were undiagnosed by the start of 2019, and 44% [37-50%] among heterosexuals, with variation by place of birth. The estimated proportion of MSM infections in 2014-2018 that were locally acquired was 68% [61-74%], with no substantial differences by region of birth. In heterosexuals, this was 57% [41-71%] overall, with heterogeneity by place of birth. The data indicate substantial potential to further curb local transmission, in both MSM and heterosexual Amsterdam residents. In 2014-2018 the largest proportion of local transmissions in Amsterdam are estimated to have occurred in foreign-born MSM, who would likely benefit most from intensified interventions.

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