HIV-1 is the virus that causes almost all the cases of AIDS worldwide. A related virus, HIV-2, was first isolated in people in West Africa in 1986. Some people who are infected with HIV-2 appear to have an AIDS-like illness, but most do not have symptoms.
You should be tested for HIV-2 infection if you:
- Are from West Africa and practice high-risk behaviors, such as having more than one sex partner or injecting illegal drugs.
- Have a sex partner who is from West Africa.
- Received a blood transfusion in West Africa.
- Are a child whose mother is infected with HIV-2.
- Have developed opportunistic infections but do not test positive for HIV-1 infection. These opportunistic infections may include:
Because HIV-2 is transmitted in the same ways as HIV-1, people who have HIV-2 should follow the same precautions as people who have HIV-1. It is possible to be infected with both HIV-1 and HIV-2.
Since 1992, blood and organs donated in the United States have been screened for HIV-2, so the risk of developing HIV-2 infection from a blood transfusion or organ transplant is extremely low.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Current as ofMay 24, 2016
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