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Do I have AIDS or am I HIV+
May 31, 2008

I tested HIV+ in 1985 and started AZT 1991 when my CD4 was 312. My CD4 dropped below 200 around 1998 and I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. I am currently on my 4th drug regime and my CD4 is usually in the 300's, viral load is now < 50.

Am I still HIV+ or do I have AIDS? If I stop my medication my CD4 will drop and viral load will increase. Am I HIV+ if on medication and AIDS if not?

Response from Dr. Moyle

The distinction between HIV and AIDS is an arbitrary one. I rarely use the word AIDS as it is largely only relevant to government bodies controlling access to care in the US rather than having much medical meaning. A precise medical history and CD4 history is much more relevant. It sounds like you have not had an opportunistic disease nor a CD4 below 200 so you do not meet the CDC definition of AIDS. If you stop your medication your CD4 will drop and viral load will increase and you could develop a serious disease event. So best to stick with being HIV+ and on medication regards Dr Moyle



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