You say that the life span of someone with HIV is more or less the same who is HIV negative, is this still the case if someone has to start ARV’s within a few months of infection because the HIV has progressed fast?
Impact of having to start treatment due to faster progression…
Current research see long-term HIV treatment that reduces viral load to less than 50 copies/mL as more or less returning your immune system back to a state as if HIV was not in your body. When your viral load is maintained this low for many years, the virus has stopped evolving, and treatment is needed to catch new virus produced from sleeping CD4 cells that periodically wake up.
This isn’t the whole picture, because research into some compartments in the body may make this a more complicated picture.
Lifespan for someone with HIV is not strictly the same as someone who is HIV-negative, because HIV-positive people as a group have a higher proportion of other health risk factors (smoking, drug use, hepatitis coinfection etc). We are also at higher risk of some generally low risk complications (some cancers etc).
If these factors are taken into account and someone has access to good treatment, then lifespan is certainly getting much closer. Luckily, the response to treatment appears as good for people who start earlier because of faster progression as it is for people who can start a little later.
See the answer to this earlier question.
Information on this website is provided by treatment advocates and offered as a guide only. Decisions about your treatment should always be taken in consultation with your doctor.