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Living Without Taking Medications

Jan 2, 2017

I am HIV positive and I don't have too much money to buy HIV medications because i have found out they are very expensive... So it's okay living with HIV without medication? Or will I die soon :-(....I want to live i love life :-(......please doctor answer me...

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

While getting access to HIV medications can seem daunting, life (and health) without them comes with risks. Over 20 countries' and the World Health Organization HIV treatment guidelines recommends treatment for all people living with HIV, irrespective of CD4 count, or clinical status (ie., if you have symptoms or not). So, I think that it's not okay to defer treatment.

Living with HIV, but without HIV medications comes with risks. If you have a low CD4 cell count, foregoing HIV meds risks progression to AIDS, serious illness, cancer and death. The time for progression to AIDS varies from person to person (and is dependent on your pre-treatment CD4 cell count), but the "average" time from infection to AIDS and death is usually less than 10 years, and if your CD4 cell count is below 200, time to an AIDS diagnosis or death is usually less than 1-2 years.

By contrast, HIV medications simply work. They are very well tolerated, usually once- and rarely more than twice daily, and prevent the aforementioned disease progression, transmission to others and risk of health badness.

You didn't mention where you live, but in most countries, access to HIV medications rarely requires paying the full retail price. In the US, public and private insurance covers HIV medications, and for those who have no insurance, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) usually covers the expense. For those few individuals who don't qualify for one of the previous programs, most drug manufacturers will provide medications through patient assistance programs. In most other countries, HIV medications are provided at very low or no cost through their national health systems.

I hope that this is helpful and wish you good health in the New Year. BY



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