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AIDS diagnosis still hold true?
Dec 9, 2007

First of all THANK YOU for this forum and the wealth of information contained within!!!!

My first labs 18 months ago were CD4 of zero and VL over 260,000. In terms of the "numbers" one couldn't get much worse. According to the CDC definition this is a diagnosis of AIDS - I also had 3 serious opportunistic infections - hospitalized on two occasions - all further indicators of full blown AIDS.

Remarkably (yes readers this is hope!) for over a year I have had an undectable viral load and a CD4 hovering at 300 or better. My only regimen is a great doctor, Atripla, a good diet, a multivitamin, and a good martini now and then - sounds simple I know.

I personally consider myself HIV positive although by CDC "definition" I still have AIDS and am often considered an AIDS "victim" in the media. Now I know the CDC must consider the whole population of HIV infection when classifying AIDS vs HIV and the epidemiology of it all, but there is now a growing population who have enjoyed good health because of the work the CDC does - I hope we are a growing "anomaly".

My question is this -if the CDC sets the parameters for a diagnosis and one is able to move outside those parameters (and God willing stay consistently outside) why is this not recognized as no longer having AIDS? Why doesn't the CDC consider this and at least claim a small victory in the AIDS war? For example, other disesases have remissions which can last a "normal" lifetime.

With all of the medical advancements being made in recent years isn't it time to reconsider the definition? I know there is still much to learn about AIDS and HIV, but I read so much upbeat infomation on this website about people "expecting" a normal life span etc etc.

I know this really doesn't matter as long as I stay healthy, after all that's the bottom line - but it sticks in the back of my mind. Frankly I would rather live each day thinking I'm HIV positive than waking up every morning thinking "I have AIDS" Sorry, but it's such a panic inducing term. It just sounds "easier" to deal with HIV. I am a firm beliver that one's well-being in many ways has much to do with what's going in the head and remaining positive about being positive. I would appreciate any thoughts on this and whether you know of any efforts to re-examine the definition. Thanks in advance!!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Can't speak for the CDC. But it is important relative to your medical history where you started from. but most doctors would agree that your situation at this point does not warrant an AIDS diagnosis because your risk of severe OIs has been so drastically minimized by potent HIV treatment.



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