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hiv-2, can viral load be measured?

Apr 12, 1999

Dear Dr. Holodniy, I was just diagnosed with hiv-2 (which I got last year on a trip to Amsterdam, even though I used protection with the woman). Seroconverted after 6 months (somewhere beteween 6 and 11 months). The worst part is, no one knows anything about type 2, my doctors included. Is there any way to do a viral load test??? All the tests in the lab manuals seem to be for hiv-1 RNA only. How do they measure type 2 viral load? There must be a way as I have read that type 2 viral loads tend to be lower. Also, have the available meds shown any effectiveness against hiv-2??????? Please, i hope you have some information on this. Thanks

Response from Dr. Holodniy

There are no commercially available HIV-2 quantitative viral load tests. People have developed and described "homebrew" PCR based viral load tests to describe some of the findings you described. Some of the HIV-1 treatments work. Drugs like AZT and d4T have been shown in monkey HIV-2 models to reduce viral load. There is very little clinical info in people regarding the use of these agents. Protease inhibitors are specific for HIV-1 and so would have not effect on HIV-2. MH

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