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HIV1, HIV2 and their relationship to sub-types and testing
Jan 21, 1999

I'm concerned about a potential exposure to HIV which occured in South East Asia. After reading through your many (wonderful!)answers I had a in-house PCR QUAL assay done about 3 weeks after the exposure. Results were negative. Then the lab indicated that the test is not approved for detecting the "E" strain common in S.E. Asia. Further research pointed me towards the Chiron b-dna test which according to Chiron is sensitive to type "E". I tested at 35 days and it also was negative. However in receiving the lab results it stated "for HIV1 only". What's going on here? Is there HIV-1-E and HIV-2-E (doesn't seem to make sense)? How does HIV1 and HIV2 relate to the various HIV subtypes (A, E, O etc)? Finally, do I need further testing? I also had a negative antibody (type1&2) at 60 days.

Thanks for your wonderful advice!!!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Your biolody lesson for today. HIV-1 is divided into 2 major subgroups M (major) and O (outlier). The M group is divided into subtypes A-I. The O group into A and B (for now). They are all HIV-1. HIV-2 is a different virus, although it is in the same family of retroviruses. The viral load tests are reassuring. I would still followup with one more antibody test in a couple of months. MH



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