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Is it really true HIV+ people can live normal life spans? How quickly do they need to be treated?
Dec 30, 2001

I will start by admitting my paranoia. I'm terrified to be tested for HIV. I am 30 years old and I have been happily married for 5 years. I have been sexually active since the age 16 and have not always practiced safe sex. Although I have always been in long term monagamous relationships I know that does not mean you are safe. My husband was tested when we started dating because he had many more partners than I had. He was HIV negative. I never really thought HIV was a worry for me because I had felt I was in such a low risk group. I was told at school that the risk was only for high for IV drug users and gay men. I have since realized that is not true. Everyone is at risk. My question is, you mentioned several times to other people that HIV+ people can live full life spans. The same as HIV- people. Is that accurate and if so how soon after being infected would you have to start treatment? If I were to get tested and the tests came back positive I would have been infected for at least five years. Would it be too late to start being treated so that we could live a full life span? Thank you so much for the information. If it turns out to be true I may not be so terrified to get tested.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

This is not really a hepatitis question. However, the treatment of HIV now is much like diabetes or hypertension. If treated appropriately, and reasonably early the expectation is that people should live almost normal life spans. If you are worried about this, you should get tested as soon as possible, it is very unlikely that you are positive. In addition, if you have thoughts of having children, then you absolutely should be tested before getting pregnant. Good luck! DTD



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