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Manageable Chronic Disease?

Apr 10, 2005

Hi there Dr. Young. I just recently had a visit with my ophthamologist. HIV came up in the conversation and he mentioned that at this time it is still premature to refer to HIV as a manageable chronic disease. Although, he did mention that HAART has greatly improved the prognosis of HIV patients.His comment made me very uneasy since you always mention that with acess to medications, one can hopefully live a near normal lifespan. What are your thoughts to my ophthamologist's comment??

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

I don't think that there's considerable differences here, only what comprises sufficient basis for calling this a manageable chronic disease. Some might want decades of experience to make this statement, others, like me, have patients who would have died, now 10 years on HAART, leading essentially normal lives. I think that this is enough evidence to make predictions for the future (but just predictions).

If one uses diabetes as a reference, I believe that HIV disease is a chronic, manageable disease. Without medications, patients with either disease die prematurely. Both diseases have significant behavioral factors that influence quality of life. Both require medications for optimal survival. Indeed, with medications, many (but certainly not all) patients live for a very long, possibly normal life span.

I hope that you find this helpful. BY

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