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Difference Between HIV 1 and HIV 2

HIV 1 vs HIV 2

AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is one of the most feared diseases in the world and currently has no known cure. This disease is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, commonly known as the HIV. What most people do not know is that there are two strains to HIV and they are simply known as HIV 1 and HIV 2. The main difference between the two is the frequency of occurrence. HIV 2 is much rarer than the common HIV 1. Its occurrences are also limited to Africa unlike HIV 1, which is widespread across the globe.

Although both diseases exhibit the same symptoms and eventually lead to AIDS, they do have differences in how they progress. In the early stages of the disease, HIV 1 is more infectious and is probably the reason why it spreads much faster than HIV 2. In later stages, HIV 2 becomes more infectious than HIV 1 but it is more likely that the disease has already been discovered and precautions have already been taken to not infect other people.

HIV 2 is harder to detect mainly because of the fact that the most prevalent tests are only sensitive to the HIV 1 infection and not HIV 2. More recent tests are now sensitive to both strains but it is advised for people who think that they may have HIV 2 to seek out tests specific to HIV 2 if the test for HIV 1 turns out negative just to be sure.

The treatment to manage HIV 2 has not been thoroughly looked into yet. Because of this, the treatment of HIV 1 is also applied to those who suffer from an HIV 2 infection. As expected, the result is not always as expected and the need for a more targeted cure is always present.

Obviously, being infected with HIV is no small thing as a cure is yet to be found. Still, it is certainly better to have the more prevalent HIV 1 strain as detection and treatment occurs much faster. Although the HIV 2 strain is found mostly in Africa, there is no assurance that it would not spread to other continents as well.


1.HIV 2 progresses to AIDS slower than HIV 1
2.HIV 1 spreads faster than HIV 2
3.HIV 2 is harder to detect than HIV 1
4.HIV 2 is harder to treat than HIV 1

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