Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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HIV-2 RNA/DNA by PCR, Qualitative

Qualitative


Test Code: 34977
Specimen Type: Blood

Description:

HIV-2 RNA/DNA by PCR, Qualitative

This test screens for the viral genetic material of HIV-2.  HIV-2 is one of the 2 primary types of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).  HIV attacks the body's immune system by destroying white blood cells.  In some people, HIV can progress to AIDS, a condition in which the immune system is heavily compromised and at risk from severe infections.  HIV-2 is mostly present in Western Africa, but cases have appeared in other parts of the world.  In the United States, HIV-2 accounts for .01% of all HIV cases.  Like HIV-1, HIV-2 is spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids.  The most common methods of transmission are through sexual contact or the sharing of intravenous needles.  Infected mothers can also spread the virus to their infants during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. 

When compared to HIV-1, HIV-2 infections typically progress slower and have a longer period after the initial infection with no symptoms.  Typical symptoms are similar to the flu or other common infections and can include headache, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, muscle pain, and diarrhea.  Initial symptoms can take months or years after the initial infection to develop.  Some people will not experience any symptoms at all.  For people who have HIV-2, the most effective way to identify and differentiate it from HIV-1 is through blood testing.  Accurately diagnosing HIV-2 is important for proper treatment since HIV-2 is resistant to some of the medications which can effectively treat HIV-1.  

HIV-2 testing is typically recommended for people who are from areas where the virus is prevalent as well as those who have traveled to these areas or had contact with people from those areas.  An HIV-2 PCR test is typically ordered as a follow-up to a positive result from an HIV-2 antibody test.  PCR testing may also be done when someone has indeterminate results from other HIV tests, especially if they have other risk factors for HIV-2.  

Turnaround for this test is typically 3-7 business days.

Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

Incubation Period:

HIV-2 RNA/DNA is typically detectable within 1-2 months of the initial infection although some people may be detectable sooner.  Because HIV-2 progresses at a slower rate than HIV-1, the detection period may be longer for some people.  Repeat testing may be necessary if clinically indicated. 

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