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100 percent mortality rate
Jun 28, 2003

Dear Dr. David,

I have read on this site and several others that the mortality rate of HIV infected persons is 100. Does this mean that all people who have the virus will die with the virus (no possible eradication) not neccesarily from the virus/complications; or does it mean that all persons infected will die of a complication from the virus or it's treatment? I mean life itself has a 100 mortality rate...why must this rate be given in discussions of HIV/AIDS?

Response from Dr. Wohl

As you said, life has a 100% rate of mortality ('the only way not to leave the party is not to go in the first place'). Whether HIV is absolutely fatal depends. It depends on the expected duration of the illness, it depends on the chance that during that time innovations in treatment will occur that extend this duration of illness, it depends on your body's response to the virus and to treatment. It depends.

Diabetes is a fatal disease. It is incurable although treatment can prolong life. Despite this most persons with diabetes die of related complications. Something to think about (but don't forget to look both ways before you cross). DW



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