Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 2

Guideline and Commentary

John G. Bartlett, MD


June 06, 2012

In This Article

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 2: Expert Commentary

HIV-2 is a lentivirus, a retrovirus in the same genus as HIV-1. These 2 viruses are transmitted the same way in humans, and both are lifetime infections. However, much of the rest about these viruses differs substantially, including the natural history of disease and management recommendations -- indeed, clinical monitoring and use of antiretroviral agents are quite different.

Most cases of HIV-2 are traced to West Africa, but indigenous spread within the United States occurs. There are about 1.1 million documented cases of HIV-1 in the United States, compared with about 200 documented cases of HIV-2. HIV-2 is rare, but if you have a case, you must know the differences in management.

Key issues for management of HIV-2 include the slow rate of progression, low viral load (that may not be reliably measurable with current methods), lower rates of transmission (sexually or vertically), unique treatment recommendations, and the scant data from controlled trials to inform management decisions.

The New York State AIDS Institute guidelines on HIV-2 are authored by experts from the state with the most HIV-2 cases and by the US-based clinicians with the most experience in treating HIV-2.

If you need to manage a case, this is the document that provides the best advice and the most complete review.


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