HIV-2

Topic Overview

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:

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.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised April 5, 2012

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