Q and A


What is the life expectancy of someone taking ARVs?

I am HIV positive and have been taking ART regularly for 4 years. My CD4 count is 625 and viral load is 519.

Can you please guide me about prognosis?


Thank you for your question.

No one can predict how long another person will live. This is because each person is an individual. How long someone can live also depends on a number of factors. Those that we can change such as taking ARVs, diet and exercise, and those we cannot change such as genetics and chance – good or bad luck.

However, studies have shown that these days with access to and careful use of ARVs (antiretroviral treatment for HIV), people living with HIV can have a life expectancy similar to HIV negative people. Please follow this link for more technical information on studies looking at life expectancy of positive people.

In your question, you mention that you have been taking ARVs for four years. It is unusual to have a viral load above 50 when you are on treatment, when did you last have your viral load checked?

Can I ask what combination you are on? Can I also ask how adherent you are to your medication? Adherence refers to taking your medication on time as prescribed. This is important in ensuring that you achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load (under 50).

If you are being adherent and your viral load is not below 50 after 6 months or more on treatment it is very important to discuss this with your doctor as this could mean that you have some resistance to one or more of the drugs in your treatment. Has your doctor discussed this with you?

Best wishes.


  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Cathy,

    Please let us know your question. What ARVs are they?


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