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Are there different types of HIV?
Jun 20, 2002

A guy that I have dated on and off contracted HIV many years ago through a blood transfusion. He says it is contained and he says that it is not the "viral kind". Is there more than one kind of HIV/AIDs and are the risk factors for myself the same?

Response from Mr. Kull

There is no such thing as a "non-viral kind" of HIV. HIV is a virus (human immunodeficiency virus). If this guy was infected with HIV and you had sex without condoms (vaginal, anal, oral), then you are at risk for infection with HIV. If this is the case, it is important that you get tested.

Questions about different kinds of HIV gets into virology, which is a complicated science. It becomes more complicated as HIV evolves throughout the world. Here's a basic understanding: HIV is divided into two major types, HIV-1 and HIV-2. The vast majority of infections in the world are caused by HIV-1. HIV-2 is endemic in the west coast of Africa. HIV-1 is divided into groups (M, N, O) and the M group is further divided into subtypes or clades (A through J). This has little implication for you in terms of antibody testing, as HIV-1 tests are fine tuned to detect all groups and subtypes of HIV-1. The evolution of groups and subtypes have greater implications for treatment of HIV infection.

RMK



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