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01.04.2014 | original article | Ausgabe 7-8/2014

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 7-8/2014

Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 infections in Austria

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 7-8/2014
MD Ninon Taylor, Jan Marco Kern, Wolfgang Prammer, Alois Lang, Bernhard Haas, Martin Gisinger, Robert Zangerle, Alexander Egle, Richard Greil, Hannes Oberkofler, Josef Eberle



The first case of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) seropositivity in Austria was confirmed in 1993 in a dually human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)- and HIV-2-infected patient from Ghana, who died in 2001. Before this investigation, no further HIV-2 infection was published.


The aim of this study was to describe HIV-2 epidemiology in Austria, using serological and molecular techniques, and to perform a sequence analysis of the circulating viral strains.


Six additional cases of HIV-2 were identified from 2000 to 2009. All patients originated from high-prevalence areas. In one patient, the HIV-2 infection was revealed 11 years after initial HIV-1 diagnosis, and further analysis confirmed a dual infection.


The HIV-2 epidemic has its epicentre in West Africa, but sociocultural issues, especially migration, are contributing to the low but continuous worldwide spread of HIV-2. Diagnosis of HIV-2 implies a different therapeutical management to avoid treatment failure and clinical progression. Differential diagnosis of HIV-1 and HIV-2 is complicated due to antibody cross-reactivity, and paradoxical findings (e.g. declining CD4 cell count despite HIV-1 suppression) may require careful reassessment, especially in patients from endemic countries.

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