What is HIV-2

In 1986, a second type of HIV, called HIV-2, was isolated from AIDS patients in West Africa. HIV-2 has the same modes of transmission as HIV-1 and is associated with similar opportunistic infections and AIDS. In persons infected with HIV-2, immunodeficiency seems to develop more slowly and to be milder, and those with HIV-2 are comparatively less infectious early in the course of infection. As the disease advances, HIV-2 infectiousness seems to increase; however, compared with HIV-1, the duration of this increased infectiousness is shorter.

HIV-2 infections are predominantly found in Africa. West African nations with a prevalence of HIV-2 of more than 1% in the general population are Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Other West African countries reporting HIV-2 are Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, São Tomé, Senegal, and Togo. Angola and Mozambique are other African nations where the prevalence of HIV-2 is more than 1%.

The first case of HIV-2 infection in the United States was diagnosed in 1987. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has worked with state and local health departments to collect demographic, clinical, and laboratory data on persons with HIV-2 infection.