Natural protection against HIV-1 infection provided by HIV-2

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Science  16 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5217, pp. 1612-1615
DOI: 10.1126/science.7539936


Significant differences have been observed in the rates of transmission and disease development in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) types 1 and 2. Because many HIV-2-infected people remain asymptomatic for prolonged periods, the hypothesis that HIV-2 might protect against subsequent infection by HIV-1 was considered. During a 9-year period in Dakar, Senegal, the seroincidence of both HIV types was measured in a cohort of commercial sex workers. Despite a higher incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV-2-infected women had a lower incidence of HIV-1 than did HIV-seronegative women, with a relative risk of 0.32 (P = 0.008). An understanding of the cross-protective mechanisms involved may be directly relevant to HIV-1 vaccine development.

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