Q and A

Question

I was diagnosed 16 weeks after infection, what's my life expectancy?

I was diagnosed HIV positive 16 weeks after initial infection and began treatment immediately.

I am 35 years old. CD4 was 500 and VL was 100,000.

6 months later my CD4 is 600 and VL less than 20 copies.

Being that I was diagnosed rather early and am responding well to the meds, Atripla, what does recent research say about longevity?

Some sites say one can live into 50s and some say 70s. I know it is personal to each individual, but I need some hope. I want to enjoy life and stop living in fear. I want to live to see a cure to this horrible virus.

Answer

Hello,

Thank-you for your question. Many people ask us about life expectancy and I’m pleased to say the research is very positive.  Recent research has shown that, with treatment, HIV positive people can have a life expectancy of about the same as somebody without HIV.

Being diagnosed early- when you still have a high CD4 count- is important in increasing life expectancy. A recent study looked at HIV positive men who have sex with men living in rich countries. It found that, when diagnosed early, life expectancy was 75 years. You can read this study online , which is quite technically worded.

An observational study of people living with HIV in the Netherlands found that the difference in life expectancy was less that 5 months for somebody diagnosed at 25. For somebody diagnosed at 55 the reduction in life expectancy found from this study was less than 1 1/2 years. It is also possible to read this study online.

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