Q and A

Question

How long will I live if I start ARVs on a CD4 count of 500?

I tested hiv positive after three month of sex exposure with sex worker. My viral load and cd4 counts results yet to come, and here in nepal HAART service is not available. What is my life expectancy if I start ART treatment when my cd4 count just below 500.

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

How are you coping with your diagnoses? Are you able to get any support? Do you know when you’ll get your CD4 and Viral load results?

ART if taken as prescribed is a very effective treatment. And this includes when started on a very low CD4 count. Which 500 is not.

So long as you start treatment before your CD4 count drops below 350 your life expectancy is very good, similar to somebody who is not HIV positive.

There are lots of previous questions about life expectancy here.

8 comments

  1. essie

    i feel for u ashok…i know its stressful but u can survive with the ARVs

  2. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Kelebogile,

    Because you’re on treatment the risk of transmission is close to zero. Therefore, if you choose to have sex without a condom they’ll be OK. For more info please see here:

    http://i-base.info/qa-on-the-partner-study/

    However, other than HIV there are also other STIs to think about as well as pregnancy. Also, you should only have sex without a condom if you’re comfortable with this. It is after all your body.

    If you tell people and they, ‘run’ away then that is their loss, not yours. This is because there is nothing to be ashamed about. HIV is a manageable condition.

  3. Kelebogile

    I’ve been on treatment since 2013, so since when I was pregnant. My problem is every guy I meet wants to have sex without a condom. This makes me feel exposed because I don’t want them to run away when I tell them my status. At the moment I’m single.

  4. Simon Collins

    Hi Ashok, if you have access to treatment and your viral load is undetectable, your life expectancy is the same as if you were still HIV negative. Don’t get distracted by the country you live in. Effective treatment with good adherence will do this.

  5. Ashok

    Thank you simon for your encouraging and supportive reply. Actually I don’t want to die before my parents. But I am in a country where health infrastructure is so poor that I can’t expect to live 15 years more with hiv. So if I have to die within few years from AIDS than why not now? This my be my stupid thought!

  6. Ashok

    I am a student living in kathmandu with financial support from my family. If I tell them that I am HIV positive, I won’t be family member more. Now I am mad, can’t think anything than suicide. It will be really hard work to survive alone even for few years . I am really sorry for writing such emotional feelings regular, I can’t share these feelings other than i-base .

  7. Simon Collins

    Hi Ashok, there are at least 100,000 people in Nepal who are HIV positive – you are definitely not on your own. Please contact the Nepal Network of HIV positive people. Meeting other people and will help you understand how to get strong and move forwards. It will get easier but HIV is difficult on your own.
    http://napn.org.np

    Many people feel suicidal when they first find out they are positive. Very quickly you can learn that treatment will let you lead a normal and active life. You are still young and have everything to live for. Think of what you wwould say to a friend who told you they are positive. You would tell them HIV is just a small treatable virus and they can lead a normal life. You have to give yourself this advice too :)

  8. Ashok

    Thank you a lot Lisa for a prompt reply. It’s been one month since my first symptoms appeard, I haven’t sleep even a single hour. I haven’t disclosed my status to anyone. Now the only thing I am thinking is suiciding. Here in nepal even if a person is diagnosed early, he survives only few years more because of poor health infracture. So suiciding now is better than to survive few years and die from AIDS and it’s stigma. Help me please, I am just 32 years unmarried male, want to survive many years, want to marry, have children but these all things are now unachievable dreams for me, so leaving the world in few days….. I am a student living in kathmandu with financial support from my family. If I tell them that I am HIV positive, I won’t be family member more. Now I am mad, can’t think anything than suicide. It will be really hard work to survive alone even for few years. I am really sorry for writing such emotional feelings regular, I can’t share these feelings other than i-base.

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