This test screens for antibodies which the body develops in response to infection with HIV-2 (Human Immunodeficiency Virus 2). HIV-2 is a strain of HIV identified primarily in people from West Africa. It is spread through the transmission of blood and bodily fluids. Current blood screening practices in the United Stated make contraction of HIV-2 from blood transfusion or organ transplants extremely low. Reported cases of HIV-2 in the Unites States are rare and account for .01% of all HIV cases in the last 20 years.
Just as with HIV-1, many cases of HIV-2 display no symptoms. When symptoms do appear they will be similar to typical HIV-1 symptoms including fever, fatigue, weight loss and headache.
This test is primarily recommended for patients who are from West Africa or have had contact with a person from that part of the world. HIV-2 testing may also be considered by someone who has developed infections associated with HIV but has not tested positive for HIV-1. Common HIV-1 tests may not be accurate in detecting HIV-2 antibodies.
Turnaround time for this test is typically 1-3 business days.
Antibodies for HIV can appear as early as a few weeks after being infected with the HIV-2 virus. HIV-2 antibodies may take up to 6 months to be detectible.
This HIV testing does not have any special requirements.