Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium compared the genetic information of human immunodeficiency virus samples from more than 500 patients -- male, female, gay and straight, Caucasian and non-Caucasian -- who were newly diagnosed at an HIV screening clinic from 2001 to 2009.
The study, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, finds a significant number of new HIV infections in the region occur as a result of high-risk behavior between young white homosexual men.
"Using genetic profiling techniques we were able to group viruses into 'clusters' of highly related variants," Dr. Chris Verhofstede of Ghent University, the lead researcher, said in a statement.
"Clusters of viruses are indicative for the local onward transmission of this particular viral strain. We defined more and larger clusters amongst the HIV subtype B viruses compared to the non-B viruses. We also found that clustered viruses are more frequently isolated from young Caucasian men who have sex with men and who have a high prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases."