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14 years positive and still healthy

Jun 28, 2003

Dr. Young

I was diagnosed as HIV + in 1990, with infection date no more than 6 months earlier. I was placed on AZT and took if for 6 months and stopped due to side effects. I was off meds till 1997 at which time i started Zerit and Epivir. I stopped taking them with my physician's blessing 3 years ago. Since I have been positive my CD4 has maintained an average of 500 with a typical percentage of 38. Viral load has been no more than 2000, off meds. My last CD4 was 520, 39 and VL 1100. My doc says that we should simply monitor my labs ever three months. I feel GREAT and have not so much as had the flu since 1990. How is this explained? Why am I doing so well, with no meds for 3 years and minimal meds prior to that???? Not complainging about the good health, but curious if you have seen someone with a similar story.

Thanks Bob Dallas, TExas

Response from Dr. Young

There are a small proportion of HIV infected persons who have (by good luck or genetics) very low viral loads-- it would appear that you are one of these.

These persons are often long-term non-progressors or slow-progressors; with limited or slow decline in CD4 cell counts. We don't understand all of the factors that determine how such behavior happens, though it would clearly be of interest.

On an aside, this is exactly why many recommend starting therapy during acute seroconversion-- it would seem that very early treatment preserves important parts of the immune response to HIV and lowers the viral load when therapy is discontinued. BY

HIV & Pregnant,
Immune function/feeling better at night

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