AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2019 Mar 17;35(3):267-275. Epub 2018 Oct 17.
1 Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
To cluster anal microbiota and define microbial patterns associated with biological, clinical, and behavioral correlates among Nigerian men who have sex with men (MSM) living with or at risk for HIV. In this cross-sectional pilot study, the 15 most abundant 16S taxa in the anal microbiota of 113 MSM underwent unsupervised K-means clustering and z-score comparisons to define similarities and dissimilarities among 4 microbiota taxonomic profiles. Distributions of oncogenic HPV (high-risk human papillomavirus [HR-HPV]), concurrent HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and other clinical and behavioral data were evaluated using Fisher's exact and Kruskal-Wallis tests to determine biological signatures of cluster membership. Prevotella was consistently represented in each cluster, but the average composition ranged from 14% to 44%. Cluster 2 was enriched with a member of the Fusobacteria phylum, Sneathia (29%). More participants of cluster 2 were HIV infected and taking ART (83%, 5/6), were virally suppressed (80%, 4/5), had HPV-16 (66.7%, 4/6), and reported no vaginal sex partners (83%, 5/6). HPV-35, a highly prevalent oncogenic HPV in Nigeria, was observed in all clusters except cluster 2 (0%, 0/6). Other covariates were similar across clusters (all p > .05). K-means unsupervised clustering, a canonical pattern recognition method, generalized the microbial community composition and structure while accounting for among sample variability. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether an anal microbial community enriched with members of the Fusobacteria phylum is associated with HIV-infected MSM who are virally suppressed and have a concurrent HPV-16.