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Types and Strains of HIV Virus

HIV types and strains 1

The human immunodeficiency virus is an infection that can severely impair the body’s immunity. If left untreated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), its advanced stage. Although it is commonly classified as a sexually transferred disease, there can be other causes for developing this condition. Irresponsible use of contaminated needles is another means of HIV transfer. The said infection reduces the body’s ability to fight diseases and other illnesses.

HIV Types

HIV has two main types. 


The most common categorization of this infection is HIV-1. This type is a significant triggering element of the disease, with features that are virulent to many people. Compared to the second type of the said infection, HIV-1 has a more enormous strength to open doors for more serious medical complications. This explains the vast number of HIV 1 cases globally.


When it comes to the transmission rate, HIV-2 is considerably low. Why? This is because the ability of the virus to spread is poor. This explains the lesser number of HIV-2 cases around the globe. Also, this type takes more time to advance into AIDs. Once medications are applied to alleviate the effects of HIV-2, it becomes easier to treat.

Strains of HIV

Apart from the existing HIV, there are groups involving HIV-1 & HIV-2 that comprise the strains of this infection. Each of these groups is subdivided into two types. Consider the following:

Groups under HIV-1

Group M (Major) – Comprises the prevalent number of cases worldwide.

  • Strains include – A, B, C, D, F, G, H, J & K
  • Strain B – Most dominant among the strains, with rising cases in the U.S., Europe, and Australia
  • Stain C – Most dominant in Southern Africa & India

Groups N, O, & P – The infection rate is just 5 %.

  • Although rare, it can still infect many individuals.
  • Compared to the first-mentioned groups, these groups are uncommon.
  • Group N – Cases are recorded for individuals living in Cameroon
  • Group O – The number of cases recorded is limited to 100,000. It is mostly concentrated around West-Central Africa.
  • Group P – Recognized as the latest named group under HIV-1. Its infection rate is still low.

Groups under HIV-2

As for this group of strains, there are about 8 recognized. They label the names from the letters A to H. Among these labels, we classified only 2 as a part of the global infection.

  • Group A – The infection rate is remarkably high in regions like West Africa, Mozambique, India, Brazil, Angola, the U.S. and Europe.
  • Group B – The infection rate is only limited in West Africa.


It doesn’t matter which type of HIV you have, since all these types are still capable of AIDS progression. What matters most is getting the diagnosis and treatment on time.  



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