Anonymous
I have read that HIV-2 is a "slower progressing" virus of the two, would this cause a slower response in antibodies? Also, is it true that HIV-2 is harder to transmit and very rare in North America. Im located in the United States, do you have any idea how many people in all of the US have HIV-2?

also, I have read that PCR testing often has false positives. Do you know anything about this?
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver, I'm happy to address your concerns.

You are correct, that HIV-2 is considered to be a slower progressing virus out of the two strains, but this would not affect the rate in which antibodies are formed, which means that it would not affect the accuracy of the test, and your results would still be considered conclusive at 12 weeks (3 months).

I am unsure of the exact prevalence of HIV-2 in the United States; but what is known, is that HIV-2 rates are considerably less than HIV-1, and the harm reduction measures to protect you and your health are the same in both strains.

PCR testing is used to measure how much virus is in the blood of a positive person (viral load testing). PCR testing is also known to be 99.6% accurate. False positive test results could be due to the very short window period (2-3 weeks of exposure). However, we here at AIDS Vancouver are not doctors; we are a group of trained volunteers. I would suggest consulting your local healthcare practitioner to answer questions regarding PCR testing, if you feel that you have received a false positive result.

In British Columbia, PCR testing is used for blood/organ donations, or for screening babies of HIV+ mothers. We recommend getting tested with either the 3rd and 4th generation of testing, as they are the most commonly used and most accurate.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask. For more information, please visit our website at

All the best,

Leila

AIDS Vancouver Helpline

Phone: 604-253-0566 ext 299

Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm (PsT)

*Anonymous and Confidential*
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