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Need to know for peace of mind!

Feb 3, 2004

My son has been diagnosed HIV+. I have accepted his diagnosis - I know that there are alot of good treatment for HIV and that his prognosis is good. However, I don't quite get the normal to near normal life expectany theory - I want to believe he will live to be an old man yet I feel like I know better than that. Where can I get an answer? What are his chances of having a near normal life expectancy since he is so young (21)most of the forums seem to relate to those older?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Since the introduction into medical practice of the protease inhibitors and combination antiretroviral therapies in 1995-96, the prognosis for people with HIV infection has improved dramatically. Mortality due to all causes has greatly decreased.

Long-term predictions about life expectancy cannot be accurately made at this time. We know that HAART improves life expectancy by suppressing viral replication, and helping to maintain adequate levels of CD4 T cells. This prevents many of the complications of HIV infection, such as opportunistic infections, and the damaging effects of high levels of viral replication. It has only been 8 years since the introduction of HAART. To make predictions beyond 8 years would be speculative.

We also know that long-term HAART is associated with adverse reactions, such as metabolic changes, and potential increases in the risk of cardiovascular disease. The magnitude of these effects, and their implications for life expectancy are not yet fully understood.

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