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Burkitt's and longevity
Apr 3, 2011


I was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma and told that I was HIV+ in the fall. My Oncologist had me go through an intense course of chemotherapy which I handled very well. I was also under the care of an Infectious Disease specialist who started me on antiretrovirals immediately. I will be having a PET-scan next month to confirm that the Burkitt's is gone. My Infectious Disease doctor recently tested me and found that my T-cells are over 200 and the virus is undetectable. Does the fact that I had the Burkitt's and that my T-cells were below 100 when I started therapy mean that my life span is greatly shortened?


Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Greg,

When it comes to HIV/AIDS, none of us has a reliable crystal ball for what the future holds. For instance, if the mortality statistics when I was diagnosed with HIV in January 1991 were correct, I would be pushing up daisies today rather than attending a gay wedding in London (which is where I am today). Treatment of HIV/AIDS continues to make significant strides. Consequently, a discussion of longevity/mortality is really pure guesswork rather than scientific fact. What I will say is that the lifespan of HIVers who have access to good medical care and antiretrovirals has continued to improve, and we have no reason to believe that additional improvements are not headed our way.

That your T-cells have now climbed over the 200 mark and your HIV plasma viral load has plummeted to undetectable levels is cause for optimism and celebration. WOO-HOO! Focus on staying positive about being positive and let's get through this together. OK Greg?

Dr. Bob

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