Mortality and survival patterns of people living with HIV-2

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Purpose of review

People living with HIV-2 infected usually initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) at an advanced period in the course of their infection after a long asymptomatic period characterized by high CD4 cell count and thus at a relatively advanced age. In the new international context of early and universal ART initiation, the aim was to review survival patterns among HIV-2 infected patients, either on ART or not.

Recent findings

Very few reports were published on mortality in people living with HIV-2 during the last 5 years. People living with HIV-2 experience high mortality rates although lower than people living with HIV-1 before ART initiation. They seem to survive longer regardless of the conditions of ART use. Mortality is associated with late presentation, male sex, CD4 cell count less than 500 cell/μl, high plasma viral load, hemoglobin rate less than 8 g/dl and body mass index less than 18 kg/m2.


People living with HIV-2 initiate ART later than HIV-1 and HIV duals, resulting in higher disease progression and mortality rate. The clinical management of HIV-2 infected patients should now include early diagnosis and treatment initiation as per international guidelines. Further research needs to explore the ‘what to start’ question and document specific causes of death in people living with HIV-2 and enrolled in care in Africa.

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