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How long does it take to develop lymphoma?
May 28, 2001

I was wondering how long is someone HIV positive before they develop lymphoma and how high would their VL be to cause lymphoma. The reason I am asking this is that a friend tested neg last March and tested pos in Dec 2000,then was diagnosised with an advanced lymphoma April 2001.How is this possible so quickly? Thank you for your wonderful work.

Response from Dr. Dezube

Lymphoma (as well as Kaposi's sarcoma) can occur at ANY time during the course of HIV infection. There is NO magic CD4 count number, above which one is safe from lymphoma. This is quite different than say PCP pneumonia (which typically occurs when CD4 < 200) or CMV retinitis (which typically occurs when CD4 < 50). Although lymphoma may be more aggressive in patients with low CD4 counts and high viral loads, this is not always the case.I've seen patients with lymphoma despite having a CD4 count of almost 1000. Virtually all patients with AIDS-related lymphoma should be taking highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). HAART therapy is the best assurance against tumor recurrence. I wish your friend luck.


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