We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are HIV Clades?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

HIV clades are distinct subgroups of HIV, broken up by geographical region. Within each clade, the virus has a number of genetic similarities and markers which can be used to learn more about the evolution of HIV. The fact that many of the clades are quite distinctive and very different from each other has some very serious implications for scientists working on HIV/AIDS vaccines. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to develop a vaccine to protect people from all HIV clades, or it may not be possible to vaccinate against certain clades.

This virus is infamous for mutating extremely rapidly, a source of great frustration to doctors and HIV researchers. Even as researchers first began studying the evolution of HIV, the virus was already mutating, developing new traits and displaying new behaviors in the body. As researchers learned more about the virus, however, they were able to start recognizing and identifying distinct HIV clades; “clade” is simply a fancy word for a taxonomic grouping.

By studying HIV clades, researchers have been able to track the evolution of the virus, in the hopes of learning more about where it came from, how it spread, and how it could potentially be treated. Learning about HIV clades was an important step in the research needed to identify the origins of the HIV epidemic, as it allowed researchers to start pinpointing the region of the virus' origin, which turned out to be Africa.

There are two basic groups of HIV clades: M or Main, and O or Outgroup. The main clades cause the bulk of HIV infections, while outgroup HIV clades are more unusual, responsible for fewer infections. Because O clades are rare, sometimes they can be used to trace a very specific pathway of infection, if researchers can track down and test a large number of people.

Among the M clades, there are eight different subtypings, lettered A through H, and each geographic region tends to have a dominant clade. Clades A and D, for example, are common in East Africa, making them among the oldest clades, while clade B appears in Europe and the Americas, with clade C cropping up in East Asia. Viruses in each clade respond differently to treatment, and they have differing levels of virulence, which explains why some people respond very well to HIV/AIDS drugs, while others struggle with a series of drug regimens.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.