HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
HIV 3 testing
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HIV 3 testing

Hello Doctors:
I have a question about a new HIV variant I have recently read about. The variant is called HIV 3 and is apparently a drug (HAART?) resistant form of HIV which progresses rapidly to AIDS. I am wondering if this variant of HIV 3 is picked up and detected by the standard ELISA or HIV 1/HIV 2 tests. Are previous negative results with an HIV1/HIV2 test at risk of inaccuracy if someone has this new HIV 3 variant? Thank you so much for your guidance and response.
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Welcome back.

A new variant of HIV was identified for the first time in a human several months ago.  It was designated HIV-1 variant P, not HIV-3.  Until now, all human HIV-1 infections were with variant M, the vast majority, and variants N and O, which are rare.  M, N and O originated in chimpanzees; variant P appears to have evolved in gorillas.  (HIV-2 is separate and originated in a different primate, the sooty mangabey.)  Presumably research is underway to see if other humans have variant P, but only this patient is known so far.  She is from Cameroon but was diagnosed in France.  Her routine HIV antbody test was positive.

This is your 4th question on this forum in 2 years.  You are welcome to ask questions within the limits of MedHelp's rules, but that includes a maximum 2 questions every 6 months on the professionally moderated forums.  This will have to be the last until next August at the earliest.  Just a heads up so you don't risk losing a future posting fee, since there are no refunds in case of excess posting.

HHH, MD
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University of Washington
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