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HIV and AIDS

Do Doctors Know What Type Of The Virus A Patient Has?

03/26/2001

Question:

Dear Doctor,

I work in hospitals and have been seeing many HIV+ patients. My questions is: would the attending MD know if his patient has HIV 1 or HIV 2? Would testing reveal this and possibly coinfection? It seems to me, this would need to be monitored by the CDC. Thank you for your time.

Answer:

If the attending physician is aware that his/her patient has HIV infection, then s/he should know whether it is HIV-1 and/or HIV-2. The standard screening ELISA commonly used in the U.S. will pick up both types, and if the Western Blot is negative for HIV-1, then a Western Blot specific for HIV-2 can be run.

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Response by:

Judith   Feinberg, MD Judith Feinberg, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati