There are two types of the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV 1 and HIV 2. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worldwide, the vast majority of HIV infections are HIV 1. HIV 2, on the other hand, is primarily confined to the subcontinent of West Africa. In addition to the difference in geographic location and prevalence of infection, HIV 2 is also less likely to lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Clinical managements of HIV 2 are also different.
How HIV 2 Is Spread
In the early stages of HIV 2, those with the STD are less infectious than are those who are in the early stages of HIV 1. However, as the disease advances, it is believed that the infectiousness of HIV 2 increases. HIV 2 is very rare in the United States. However, it is transmitted in the exact same manner as is HIV 1: through the exchange of certainly bodily fluids.
Like HIV 1, a person cannot get HIV 2 merely by touching, kissing, or sharing saliva with another person. Instead, a person can only become infected with HIV 2 if they come in contact with the semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, or blood of an infected person. People who are most at risk for contracting HIV 2 are those who travel to West Africa or have unprotected sex with partners from this region, those who receive a blood transfusion or injection in a West African country, those who share needles with a person who is from a country where HIV 2 is an epidemic, and children from mothers who have HIV 2.
While the geographic nature of HIV 2 may give you some level of comfort, this may be unwarranted because HIV 2 diagnoses do happen in the United States. For this reason, HIV 2 screening is part of SeroMatch’s discreet, Web-based STD testing.
Preventing and Treating HIV 2
There is no known cure for HIV 2, and over time, HIV 2 may develop into AIDS. Once a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, the average life span is a mere three years if left untreated.
However, there is medicine that can help a person live with HIV 2. Unfortunately, little is currently understood about the best clinical treatments and care of those who are infected with HIV 2.
The best way to prevent HIV 2 is to avoid sex (particularly unprotected sex) or the sharing of needles with persons who have HIV 2 or while traveling in West Africa. Abstinence may not always be popular in the dating circles, so a critical safeguard to sexually active singles is to join the SeroMatch community and only match with partners who have the same STD(s) or none at all.
Make Sure Your Partners Are STD-free Before Things Get Physical
If you are not in a monogamous relationship, you should take precautions to protect yourself from HIV and other STDs by making sure that you and any of your potential partners are screened before having sex. At SeroMatch, we facilitate accurate and discreet STD testing as well as a responsible community of potential partners where you’re far less likely to find any STD surprises lurking. To learn more, check out our FAQs today.