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Asymptomatic and no treatment after 12 years
Sep 23, 1997

I am HIV+ for 12 years and have never had any complications from AIDS. I take no antiviral treatment or any other therapy or care for my HIV. I am tested every 3-6 months and consistently have a CD-4 count of around 550 and a viral load around 25,000. I remain healthy and active. How rare is this?

Response from Dr. Cohen

It's not particularly rare. The average time from infection to AIDS (in untreated patients) is about 10 years. That means that half of people will take longer than that.

I would imagine that your viral load has gone up recently. If it had been 25,000 all that time your CD4 count would not have been so stable. The fact that it is 25,000 means that without treatment, your CD4 count is likely to begin declining. Although there's certainly no emergency, this might be a good time to think about starting therapy.

How long to live?

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