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What's the best case scenario for HIV infection? Be real, how many years can I go on?
Jan 31, 2003

We hear 13, 16, 18 years for HIV cases with proper meds. How many years of life from times of AIDS diagnoses to death, has been the longest lived, outside numbers of years, with use of latest meds? This is very important to most. We know you cannot give exact lengths of survival, but with the shortest span being 'none', the best reason to live, would be to know how long we can! Thank you so much. Robb

Response from Dr. Dezube

I have patients in my practice who have been infected for well over a decade (even two decades)and who currently have very robust (i.e. high) CD4 counts and an undetectable viral load. I often tell them (and they do ask me!) that they could have a normal life expectancy. I say that because that is the truth. Please note that they (the patients) have to do their part-- they need to stay on their drugs, and do everything in their power to stay healthy (avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs; exercise regularly; wear seatbelts; have a good attitude and so on). I always find it particularly painful when I have a patient who dies from an avoidable accident and at the time of death has a CD4 count of 1000 and an undetectable viral load. I had two such patients die last year. They both died of a cocaine overdose. This was sad to me since, were it not for the cocaine, they might have reached a ripe old age.

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