Long term HIV survival. Why is my CD4 so high? Are there a lot of us?
Mar 2, 2013
I am a 49 year old man who has confirmed infection in 1977 and was diagnosed in early 1985. It took a long time to figure out how I was infected, because I was a non IV using virgin when I was diagnosed. At this point it is beside the point. I was asymptomatic until 1995 when I got shingles and thrush. 1996 got full blown PCP with a CD4 of 14 and a Viral load of 189,000. Started meds in 96, but the CD4 stayed <400 with VL of ~5000 until 2000. In 2000, I changed meds to HAART and my CD4 went to 1200 with an undetectable VL. It has stayed between 1290 to 1400 ever since. 3 months ago it went high to 1580 with my CD8 going high at >1800, and VL is still undetectable at <12. Is this unique? I can't seem to find anything like it anywhere. My small-town Dr. says "just be happy". Is this a blood disorder? Could it be cancer? Could the meds cause this? Am I whining? My concerns are ultra long term HIV effects and 17 years on meds long term effects. Am I alone?
Response from Dr. Holodniy
You are not alone. We have patients in the clinic who have been infected for over 20-25 years. HIV medications work. How many people there are in your situation is currently unknown.
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