Enhanced use of phylogenetic data to inform public health approaches to HIV among men who have sex with men

German D, Grabowski MK, Beyrer C

The multidimensional nature and continued evolution of HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM) requires innovative intervention approaches. Strategies are needed that recognise the individual, social and structural factors driving HIV transmission; that can pinpoint networks with heightened transmission risk; and that can help target intervention in real time. HIV phylogenetics is a rapidly evolving field with strong promise for informing innovative responses to the HIV epidemic among MSM. Currently, HIV phylogenetic insights are providing new understandings of characteristics of HIV epidemics involving MSM, social networks influencing transmission, characteristics of HIV transmission clusters involving MSM, targets for antiretroviral and other prevention strategies and dynamics of emergent epidemics. Maximising the potential of HIV phylogenetics for HIV responses among MSM will require attention to key methodological challenges and ethical considerations, as well as resolving key implementation and scientific questions. Enhanced and integrated use of HIV surveillance, sociobehavioural and phylogenetic data resources are becoming increasingly critical for informing public health approaches to HIV among MSM.