Skip to content

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

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:

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

Understanding AIDS/HIV -- Prevention

The most common way people are infected with HIV is by having sex with an infected person. You can't tell by looking at a person whether they have HIV, so you have to protect yourself -- and your sex partner. Safe Sex and HIV Prevention Don't have unprotected sex outside marriage or a committed relationship. If you or your partner has ever had unprotected sex -- or if either of you uses injected drugs -- the only way to be sure you don't have HIV is to get tested. Have two...

Read the Understanding AIDS/HIV -- Prevention article > >

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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 05, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    misconception
    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
     
    research
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
     
    HIV AIDS Screening
    Slideshow
    man opening condom wrapper
    Quiz
     
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Feature
    Discrimination Stigma
    Feature
     
    Treatment Side Effects
    Feature
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    Article
     
    obese man standing on scale
    Article
    cold sore
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections