Q and A


How long can someone live with HIV?

How long can a man live with HIV if he was around 18 years old and was healthy when he was infected, both with and without medication?


This is a very good question, but no-one can predict how long another person will live.

Many issues that need to be taken into account and yet you still will only get a guess for an average age. These include socioeconomic factors, which country you live in, income, lifestyle (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, exercise and diet), access to health care, other infections like hepatitis, genetics and chance – good or bad luck.

However, there was a good study published in the Lancet, in the 26 July 2008 issue, that looked at life expectancy for HIV positive people. It provided robust and compelling results from a large cohort of HIV positive people from developed countries, that life expectancy is very good, and near to an HIV-negative person.

They reported that a 20-year-old individual starting HAART could expect to live for another 43 years on average. A 35-year-old could expect 32 more years of life. One of the comments by an Australian scientist was

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.


  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Eugene,

    If you read the posts in this feed, you’ll see that no one can answer that question. That’s because no one can predict how long a person will live for. However, if you’re on medication and your HIV is stable then your life expectancy will be similar, if not the same as to what it would have been had you not become positive.

  2. Eugene

    Hi there I am HIV positive and I did get it when I was 35 years old I just want to know how long do I have to live?

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Amanda,

    Are you still injecting drugs? If you are what, and how often?

    Are you on ARVs? If you are, how long have you been on them for?

    If you’re asking how long will you live if you stop ARVs, I can’t answer this. But this is what will happen if you stop ARVs, see Q2:


    If you’re asking how long you’ll live if you stop injecting drugs, (that is if you’re still injecting) no one can answer this. But if you’re on ARVs, then your life expectancy should be close to what it would have been had you not have contracted HIV. This is because ARVs work, and work very well. They allow people to live normal healthy lives.

  4. amanda

    I am 17 years old and was infected with HIV when I am 16 through injection. I have hepatitis C as well. How long will I live, if I stopped using drugs?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Siya,

    People get sick when their CD4’s begin to fall, not when they have a CD4 of 600. To make sure that your CD4 stays healthy, its important that you use ARVs.

  6. Siya

    A 30 years old man, none smoking, no drinking alcohol , HIV positive but CD4 is above 600, what are the chances of getting sick?

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Sbeila,

    Though side effects are common when first starting meds, not everyone has them.
    Therefore, its great to hear that you’ve not had any side effects, this is a good thing.

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