Prevalence and incidence of HIV-1 and HIV-2 before, during and after a civil war in an occupational cohort in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

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To study prevalence and incidence of HIV-1 and HIV-2 between 1990 and 2007 and to examine impact of the civil war in 1998–1999. We also wanted to investigate possible interaction between HIV-1 and HIV-2.


Open prospective cohort study of 4592 police officers in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa.


Analysis of HIV-1 and HIV-2 prevalence and incidence divided in 2–3 years time strata.


HIV-1 prevalence (including HIV-1/HIV-2 dual reactivity) increased gradually from 0.6 to 3.6% before the war and was 9.5% in the first serosurvey after the war. HIV-1 incidence more than doubled during and shortly after the war, from 0.50 to 1.22 per 100 person-years. Both prevalence and incidence of HIV-1 decreased in the following periods after the war. HIV-2 prevalence decreased from 13.4 to 6.2% during the entire study period and HIV-2 incidence decreased from 1.38 to 0.18 per 100 person-years. Adjusted incidence rate ratios of HIV-1 incidence in HIV-2-positive participants compared with HIV-negative participants ranged from 1.02 to 1.18 (not significant) depending on the confounding variables included.


HIV-1 has increased, whereas HIV-2 has decreased and the risk of acquiring HIV-1 is now more than four times higher as compared with HIV-2. The civil war in 1998–1999 appears to have induced a temporary increase in HIV-1 transmission, but now a stabilization of HIV-1 incidence and prevalence seems to have taken place. There was no evidence of a protective effect of HIV-2 against HIV-1 infection.

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