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what will happen after i turn 50?
Jul 29, 2010

heard, learnt, discussed and read a lot than i should have , about hiv in last 50 days, (when i was diagoned).waiting for my next follow up in few days and probably my doctor will put me on ART.my question is that recently i read that my thymus gland works till the age of 45-50 only...so does it mean that it won't be producing and cd4 cells after that age...than what will happen.......and what will art will do that time. this means i can't expect to even live 25 years now???? or after that there won't be any rise in cd4 even with art and i have to c my counts falling......m scared

Response from Dr. McGowan

Dear m scared.

Most of the CD4 cells that recover after treatment come from expansion of cells already in the body and blood. By the time you reached 50, you have gotten through all the childhood illnesses, vaccinations, exposures to everything that came down the pike. your immune system has reacted to them and developed "memory" for these infections. Although the CD4 number goes down with HIV infection, the "memory" and capacity to respond to these infections is not wiped out and can generally be regenerated and built up by expansion of the CD4 cells in the body. That is why we do not miss the thymus as we get older. Just a bit of good news: my oldest patient is now 88 years young and going strong and by 2015 half of people with HIV in the US will be over age 50. Do not worry too much. The first step will be to fight back, start meds, get the virus suppressed and start to heal. Best, Joe



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