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What is HTLV?
May 17, 2001

Dr. Feinberg. I know this is for opportunistic infections, but I couldn't find a better column for it. I was curious about what HTLV-I and HTLV-II are? I see them listed sometimes in conjunction with HIV, but I can't seem to find much information on them. Are they STD's that are similar to HIV? Are they as dangerous? Should a person be tested for those as well? Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

HTLV stands for Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus, and HIV belongs to this larger family of viruses. However, neither HTLV-1 nor HTLV-2 are epidemic, and both are fairly restricted geographically. They can cause illness that has some overlap with HIV, but they much more commonly result in the development of lymphoma after many years of infection and much less commonly are associated with seconday, opportunisitic-type infections. There is little utility in getting tested for them, and there is n o specific treatment.


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