Last update Jan. 2, 2023

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2)

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2, HTLV-2) is a frequent human retrovirus in some aboriginal populations of America and widespread among intravenous drug addicts, for which reason an important part (90 %) of individuals infected with this retrovirus are co-infected with HIV-1 (Toro 2004). HTLV-2, unlike HTLV-1, has not been associated with any specific disease.
The mode of transmission is the same as that of VLTH-1: sexual transmission. breastfeeding, sharing contaminated needles, transfusion and transplantation.
There is vertical mother-child transmission, both in breastfed and non-breastfed infants. (Van Dyke 1995)
In breast milk, HTLV-1/2 proviral DNA and anti-THLV 1 and 2 IgG antibodies are detected. (Rosadas 2021)
The prevention of transmission adopted in some highly endemic countries is prenatal screening and formula feeding. (Ribeiro 2012)

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Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Human T-lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2) is also known as


Human T-lymphotropic virus type 2 (HTLV-2) belongs to this group or family:


  1. Millen S, Thoma-Kress AK. Milk Transmission of HTLV-1 and the Need for Innovative Prevention Strategies. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Mar 11;9:867147. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Rosadas C, Woo T, Haddow J, Rowan A, Taylor GP. Anti-HTLV-1/2 IgG Antibodies in the Breastmilk of Seropositive Mothers. Microorganisms. 2021 Jun 30;9(7). pii: 1413. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Ribeiro MA, Martins ML, Teixeira C, Ladeira R, Oliveira Mde F, Januário JN, Proietti FA, Carneiro-Proietti AB. Blocking vertical transmission of human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 and 2 through breastfeeding interruption. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2012 Nov;31(11):1139-43. Abstract
  4. Toro C, Rodés B, Aguilera A, Caballero E, Benito R, Bassani S, Rodríguez C, Tuset C, Ortiz de Lejarazu R, Eirós J, García J, Calderón E, Capote FJ, Vallejo A, Gutiérrez M, Soriano V; Grupo Español para el Estudio del VIH-2 y del HTLV-I/II.. Infecciones por VIH-2 y HTLV-I/II en España. [HIV-2 and HTLV-I/II infections in Spain]. Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2004 Mar;22(3):177-82. Spanish. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  5. Van Dyke RB, Heneine W, Perrin ME, Rudolph D, Starszak E, Woods T, Switzer WM, Kaplan JE. Mother-to-child transmission of human T-lymphotropic virus type II. J Pediatr. 1995 Dec;127(6):924-8. Abstract

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