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Looking ahead
Nov 5, 2012

Hi, diagnosed at 53 shortly after seroconversion , year later went onto meds, truvada and isentress and went undetectable in 6 weeks, CD4 never been below 550 and no co-infections or other medical condition. Exercise regularly and eat healthy, I know you can't predict the future but just wondered what my prognosis for the future is and what affect HIV will have on my future health and well being? Also apart from my routine HIV monitoring what else would you suggest I keep an eye on? Thanks.

Response from Mr. Vergel

It seems that you started HIV treatment relatively early and that you are healthy at 53 (by the way, I am also 53).

HIV will not rob you much length from your life , and it may also not rob you of its quality either.

Aging with and without HIV has its challenges for all. Many of us have genetic predispositions to different health issues. Those with strong family history of cardiovascular disease have to monitor and manage risk factors closely (not smoking, managing lipids using proper exercise and nutrition to keep healthy weight, etc.) HIV may add a bit more of a risk and we are not really sure how many of us aging with HIV will fare in the long term when it comes to cardiovascular disease. Your physician will do an EKG annually as part of a physical exam. If not, remind him or her.

Bone loss can happen in some of us, but it seems to stabilize after a few months of starting antiretrovirals. Exercise and proper calcium/vitamin D intake can help prevent some of that age and HIV related bone loss. Eventually, it is good for all of us aging with HIV to get a DEXA bone scan every few years to ensure that our bone density is OK. This is a test that I often see doctors forget to schedule for patients.

Your doctor will follow most important variables to keep you healthy like kidney and liver functions. Sometimes we have to remind them to check our hormones on a yearly basis and to refer us to colon-rectal doctors for anoscopies every few years to catch any anal dysplasia we may have due to HPV exposure.

Keep exercising and eating properly and lead your life like you would if you were not HIV+. Do not let HIV stop you from achieving your dreams. Do not use it as an excuse to stop trying your best. And stay informed like you are doing now to stay abreast of new developments in the fast moving field of HIV cure research!

Nelson



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