Q and A

Question

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?

Answer

Modern HIV drugs mean that life expectancy is now similar for HIV positive people to the general population.

This is based on being diagnosed early and having access to treatment.

The wide range of factors related to life expectancy include: where you live, your income, access to health care, lifestyle (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, exercise and diet) and other infections like hepatitis, genetics and chance – good or bad luck.

Several large studies have been published showing that life expectancy for HIV positive people is very good, and near to an HIV negative person.

Without treatment, HIV will slowly progress in nearly everyone. This speed that HIV progresses varies from a few years to more than 20 years.

Note: this answer was updated in January 2018 from a question posted in August 2008..

243 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Rasal, Yes, as it says on this question above. HIV positive people can live long lives when taking ARVs.

  2. Rasal

    Today living with hiv posible with arv drugs or no ???

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Laura,

    When someone stops taking medication their viral load will rebound and their CD4 will drop. Its not possible to say how long it will take before a persons CD4 gets to the level where a person can become ill as we’re all different. An estimated guess would be a few years. However, this isn’t an accurate science.

    If someone isn’t on meds, they will eventually get ill as their immune system will no longer be able to deal with illnesses.

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