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Types and Strains of HIV Virus

HIV types and strains 1

The human immunodeficiency virus has been generally indicated as a kind of infection that can severely impair the body’s immunity and brought about a more advanced disease – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Also classified as one of those sexually transmitted infections, HIV can be transferred by means of unprotected sexual activity and irresponsible use of contaminated needles. The said infection is very much capable of lessening the effectiveness of the body’s ability to fight diseases and other illnesses.

HIV Types

HIV has two main types. While these types share common effects on individuals, they have distinct features in terms of the intensity of their infection. These are as follows:


The most common categorization of this infection is HIV-1. This type is referred to as the major triggering element of the infection, with features that are greatly virulent to many people. When compared to the second type of the said infection, HIV-1 has a bigger strength to open doors for more and serious medical complications. This explains the wide number of cases globally.


When it comes to the transmission rate, HIV-2 is considerably low. Why is this so? This is merely because the activity of the virus is diminished. Its ability to spread is intensely poor, which explains the lesser number of 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 it.

Strains of HIV

Apart from the existing types of HIV, there are groups involving HIV-1 & HIV-2 that comprise the strains of this infection. These groups are subdivided into 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 – 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. These individuals are classified to be inhabitants of 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. The names are labelled from the letters A to H. Among these labels, only 2 are classified to be part of the global infection.

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

Note: It is a known fact that the virus reproduces. Because of this function, it becomes easier and faster for transmission to occur. This also explains why early testing is necessary. Additionally, as HIV screening lets someone know of his/her status, it also identifies which strain type you have and the kind of antiretroviral drug you will be taking. The screening is simple. You will only be extracted with a small amount of blood which will be tested and screened.

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 yourself started with the medications after being diagnosed with the infection. There are a great number of HIV medications that you can consume and take alongside the prescription provided by the doctor. Note that after your diagnosis, you need to receive and start your treatment immediately.

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