HIV-2 Early Testing

Question

Dr. Robert,

I know HIV-2 is not a popular subject here, but i had a possible high risk exposure with a person from West Africa.

Am a 33 yrs old hetrosexual male in good health, but after the exposure i had mutiple symptoms which indicate a possible HIV infection.

As i know that symptoms are irrelevant to HIV doctors so i will not go in details.

However, my question is what is the reliability of HIV-2 DNA PCR tests in detecting the virus at the early stage (4-6 weeks) and is the window period for deteting HIV-2 ab is the same as HIV-1 or HIV-2 is more slower in replication at the early stage so ab will be detected later than HIV-1?

Thank you,

Sam

Answer

Hello,

The seroconversion window period is the same for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. DNA PCR testing (for HIV-1 or HIV-2) is not FDA approved for routine diagnostic purposes. Consequently I can't advise regarding "reliability." That said, if someone were HIV-2 infected, I would expect the qualitative HIV DNA PCR test to be positive within a few weeks. The problem is that DNA PCRs can sometimes be falsely positive. Ultimately you'll need a standardized HIV-2 antibody test at the three-month mark.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob