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HIV-1 Vs. HIV-2

hiv 1 vs hiv 2

Similar to other forms of infection, HIV has two main types, namely HIV-1 and HIV-2. Although they share the same kind of communicable disease, they still have major differences in terms of virulence, genetics, symptoms, transmission, effects to its hosts, and the form of treatment that an individual needs to have. Consider the following facts that best explains the distinctness of these two types.

Differences between HIV-1 and HIV-2


In terms of the severity of the infection, people with HIV-1 are more prone to having opportunistic diseases compared to individuals who are only diagnosed with the second type of infection. When it comes to the amount of virus in the body, HIV-2 has a lower load compared to HIV-1. It explains that the first type of infection is more infectious, with a need to get treated immediately.


Sharing the same kind of virus, the pair are distinct genetically. If you haven’t known yet, the first type of infection (HIV-1) tends to be more common globally compared to its second type. With HIV-1’s 95% infection rate, it is remarkably high compared to HIV-2’s percentage, which only comprises specific regions from around the world. Some of these regions include West Africa and a little infection rate in areas such as Europe, India, and the US. Based on a study, the pair has 55% similarity in their genome.


The symptoms of these types may be similar, but the period of their emergence to the body is different. Why? While it’s pretty obvious that HIV-1 and HIV-2 both weaken and impair the body’s immune system, HIV-2 develops slowly compared to HIV-1. Note that when people are infected with HIV-1, they tend to experience an initial outbreak with symptoms that are similar to flu. Meanwhile, for the second type, the symptoms do not appear as quickly as those effects under the first type. It expounds on why those diagnosed with the infections, particularly HIV-1, are more likely to experience AIDS.


Prior to receiving treatment, tests must be done first to know how big the infection is and what kind of medications that individuals need to obtain. For this factor, note that a specific test for HIV-1 may not apply for HIV-2. It is mainly because of their genetic distinctness. However, individuals can still be diagnosed with the disease following approved tests. Additionally, the treatment involving HIV-1 is possible to be unapplicable to its counterpart. For example, medications categorized under non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors are not that effective in alleviating HIV-2. It is because the said infection is negatively receptive to the kind of treatment. However, treatments options are still available to provide the necessary medical aid to infected individuals.

Get tested today and know your status. Visit the nearest clinic today and seek a doctor’s advice regarding this medical condition. Take the necessary precautionary measures if you are diagnosed with HIV, more importantly in knowing which of the types of the infection you are possible to acquire. Staying safe is still the best option, keeping yourself protected from getting infected by this life-threatening disease.

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