Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

HIV and AIDS

Are There Any Available Testing Centers For HIV-2?

12/29/1999

Question:

My boyfriend is from West Africa and has been tested twice for HIV 1. However, I know that HIV 2 is more common in West Africa, and I would like him to get tested here in the US before we return to Africa after the holidays. I was told by the AIDS hotline to contact a private physician about this test. Today I did that and my primary care physician could not help me because "they were not accepting new patients." I am in a pinch because we return in one week, and I can`t find anyone who offers HIV 2 tests who is also willing to help. I am willing to pay the full fee and also to call from Africa for the results should it take longer than a week for the results.

Answer:

The current ELISA test used for HIV screening in the US detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2. If your boyfriend had recent negative ELISA tests, then he had no antibody to HIV-2 at the time the tests were done. The need for further testing depends on the timing of his last possible exposure to HIV-1 or HIV-2 in relation to the tests. Since one or more months may pass between the time of HIV infection and the development of antibody, to be safe, HIV testing by ELISA should be done up to six months after the last possible exposure. If no antibody is present after six months, and there has been no further exposure, there is little likelihood of infection with either HIV-1 or HIV-2.

For more information:

Go to the HIV and AIDS health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Peter T Frame, MD Peter T Frame, MD
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati