Q and A

Question

Can I really have a normal life expectancy?

I’ve been reading posts and articles from i-base since I was diagnosed 11 months ago. Thank you so much for providing this platform. My question is about longevity. All health care professionals say that it is possible to live a full life with HIV but how realistic is that? And if it is possible why are there still people who are dying daily from the disease (I live in South Africa)? My biggest fear as well is to look symptomatic, I take my medication daily, I go to gym and I eat healthy often. I’m only 27yrs old and this has become my biggest fear realized. I have a daughter to live for I don\'t want to die and leave her without a mother. My family doesn’t know about my status, I’m just so ashamed.

Answer

Thanks for getting in touch.

Though HIV is a very stigmatized health condition, you have nothing to feel ashamed about. Your condition is very manageable and if you’re on treatment and your viral load is undetectable you cannot transmit HIV through sexual intercourse.

With regards to life expectancy, its common to worry about this. However, HIV is now a very treatable condition, so yes you can expect to have a similar life expectancy to what you would have had, had you not become positive. For more please see Q10 here:

http://i-base.info/qa/what-are-the-most-asked-questions

People who die from HIV will be people who have been diagnosed with a very low CD4 and people who’ve acquired other infections.

4 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nkebeana,

    It sounds like you and your husband are doing well. How long have you been on meds?

    Yes its ok to have sex without using a condom. This shouldn’t be an issue.

  2. Nkebeana

    Both + and on treatment.husband’s cd4 is 322 n mine m not sure but the dr said is better.trying to conceive s nw i jst finished gynae’ s meds.for 2 weeks we r not using condom.how safe r we? hiv pill makes me dizzy most of d time but fresh in d morning everyday.husby is fine.are we doing right?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Blessing,

    Its very common to feel like this when you’ve just been diagnosed. Though it may feel like things won’t get any better, they will. And I say this from experience.

    Even if you don’t want to tell your family, having someone to talk to will help. This could be a close friend or someone else who is positive. It really does make a difference. Do you know if there’s a local support group near to where you live?

    With regards to not being able to see your child grow up, there’s no reason why this can’t happen. As long as you take ARVs your life expectancy will be like it would have been had you not have contracted HIV. What this means is that you can have a normal life.

    Just try and give yourself sometime.

  4. Blessing

    I’m 29 and only found out that I’m HIV in May..I’m ok I think I just feel alone.I also have a daughter and my family knows nothing about this..I’m trying each day to make positive decisions and have taken responsible future decision for my child life if am not there..I scared..I’m in tears just thinking about not seeing my baby grow..I have good days and I have days like today when I just want to hide..

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