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please answer
Feb 24, 2005

I have read that the average time for a person to show signs of hiv infection is 10 to 12 years--"untreated"

1. is it a fairly safe answer to say if a person of average health became hiv + and was to follow his taking of meds now available, that he or she should expect a 20 years or so lifespan?

2. If a person is hiv+, what is the average length of time before treatment is started???

3. If someone is newly exposed, is his or her viral load higher in the first six months and then drops or starts out lower and increases through time?

Response from Dr. Pierone

Hi, thanks for posting.

It is safe to say that a person of average health who acquires HIV infection and faithfully takes medications could expect a near-normal lifespan. The average time before medications are started depends on many factors and is a moving target. Treatment is typically started when the CD4 count drops below 350 cells it takes about 6 years (on average) for this to occur. For someone that has newly seroconverted, the viral load is often very high during primary HIV infection and declines to some rough "set point" within the first year.



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