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How long do you think?
Sep 5, 2012

So my dad was told that he has AIDS about 12 years ago.. we skipped right over HIV and went to AIDS when i had to take him to the hopital with "PCP" Pnomona? I think that is what they called it any way. Any way my question is he has done really well all these years getting his viral load down to undetectable and all that till now, we live to far from a qualified DR for him now he no longer wants to travel the 40 miles each way, so he has not seen a doctor in over a year.. That means NO MEDS... NO nothing. He seems to be ok but I am so worried that we are just headed back to where we were before, and he just says he tired of being scared. How long can some one who has already excelled to the AIDS virus live with out any treatment? I know you are not a fortune teller but just based on stats please... thanks worried daughter

Response from Dr. Young

Hello worried daughter and thanks for posting.

I share your concern about your father. We know that when individuals stop their HIV medications that their hard-earned CD4 cells decline back to pre-treatment levels in a matter of a few months. Since your dad was initially diagnosed with Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), we can safely assume that his CD4 cell count was initially very low (200 or lower) and AIDS-defining. As such, I fear that his immune function has probably returned to this level in the past year.

People who have low CD4 counts and a history of an AIDS-defining complication generally don't do well without HIV treatment and preventative medications (in your dad's case, trimethoprim/sulfa to prevent recurrence of PCP), with a life expectancy on the order of a few years (or less, depending on CD4 cell count).

As a resident of the western US, I'm use to traveling long distances to my daily activities- 40 miles doesn't seem that far for periodic, potentially life-saving visits.

I'd really encourage your father to re-engage in care in some way; even periodic telephone calls to the clinic and his doctor can start the process. What state does he live in? Is he in contact with an AIDS service organization?

Please write back, I'd welcome the opportunity to assist. BY

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