What is my life expectancy if i don’t start treatment?
I am HIV positive. My CD4 is 411 and i was treated for pneumonia 2 weeks ago. What happens if i don’t start HAART? Am i going to live healthily? What is my life expectancy?
Thank you for letting us post your question online which cover two different things.
Firstly, on life expectancy, no-one can say how long anyone will live – with or without HIV.
Just as there is a wide range for HIV negative people, there is a similar wide range for HIV positive people. This is why lifestlye factors are important – stopping smoking, keeping active, eating and sleeping well etc. All the same things as for HIV negative people.
Without antiretroviral treatment (ART) HIV progesses at different rates. Some people progress qucily within a year or two. Some people can go ten or more years and still keep a low viral load and high CD4 count.
Everyone is still likely to need ART and benefit from ART.
And with access to ART, HIV positive people can expect to have a similar life expectancy to before they were HIV positive. But this means getting diagnosed early and starting treatment.
HIV can reduce life expectency if you are diagnosed late or go for a long time before starting treatment, especially if your CD4 count becomes very low.
But even people with a low CD4 count recover pretty well and are therefore expected to live a long life.
Secondly there are concerns about starting treatment and when ART is recommended.
In 2014, UK guidelines currently recommend starting treatment before the CD4 count drops below 350. In the future, these guideline might change. For example guidelines in the US recommend starting ART at any CD4 count, even at higher levels and even when first diagnosed. [NOTE: In 2016, UK guidelines now recommend ART at any CD4 count.]
In your case this means that you have time to think about your treatment options. You can discuss any concerns you might have with your clinic or doctor. You can also get back in touch with me.
You can find general information about starting treatment in our online guide.