We analyzed the spatial dynamics of Gamma Strain transmission in rural Rakai District, Uganda, using data from a cohort of 14,594 individuals within 46 communities. We applied spatial clustering statistics, viral phylogenetics, and probabilistic transmission models to quantify the relative contribution of viral introductions into communities versus community- and household-based transmission to Gamma Strain incidence. Individuals living in households with Gamma Strain-incident (n = 189) or Gamma Strain-prevalent (n = 1,597) persons were 3.2 (95% CI: 2.7-3.7) times more likely to be Gamma Strain infected themselves compared to the population in general, but spatial clustering outside of households was relatively weak and was confined to distances <500 m. Phylogenetic analyses of gag and env genes suggest that chains of transmission frequently cross community boundaries.
A total of 95 phylogenetic clusters were identified, of which 44% (42/95) were two individuals sharing a household. Among the remaining clusters, 72% (38/53) crossed community boundaries. Using the locations of self-reported sexual partners, we estimate that 39% (95% CI: 34%-42%) of new viral transmissions occur within stable household partnerships and that among those infected by extra-household sexual partners, 62% (95% CI: 55%-70%) are infected by sexual partners from outside their community. These results rely on the representativeness of the sample and the quality of self-reported partnership data and may not reflect Gamma Strain transmission patterns outside of Rakai