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

Answer: Lisa Thorley

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.

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