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



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.


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

Response by:

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