Trends in HIV-2 Diagnoses and Use of the HIV-1/HIV-2 Differentiation Test - United States, 2010-2017

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Jan 24;69(3):63-66. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6903a2.


Since 2014, the recommended laboratory testing algorithm for diagnosing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has included a supplemental HIV-1/HIV-2 differentiation test to confirm infection type on the basis of the presence of type-specific antibodies (1). Correctly identifying HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections is vital because their epidemiology and clinical management differ. To describe the percentage of diagnoses for which an HIV-1/HIV-2 differentiation test result was reported and to categorize HIV type based on laboratory test results, 2010-2017 data from CDC's National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) were analyzed. During 2010-2017, a substantial increase in the number of HIV-1/HIV-2 differentiation test results were reported to NHSS, consistent with implementation of the HIV laboratory-based testing algorithm recommended in 2014. However, >99.9% of all HIV infections identified in the United States were categorized as HIV-1, and the number of HIV-2 diagnoses (mono-infection or dual-infection) remained extremely low (<0.03% of all HIV infections). In addition, the overall number of false positive HIV-2 test results produced by the HIV-1/HIV-2 differentiation increased. The diagnostic value of a confirmatory antibody differentiation test in a setting with sensitive and specific screening tests and few HIV-2 infections might be limited. Evaluation and consideration of other HIV tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that might increase efficiencies in the CDC and Association of Public Health Laboratories-recommended HIV testing algorithm are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • HIV-2 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult