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CD4 LESS THAN 180
May 20, 2005

MY MILDLY MENTAL ILL UNCLE HAS BEEN DX WITH HIV ABOUT A YEAR AGO. I FOUND OUT BY OVER HEARING CO-WORKERS AT THE HOSPITAL I WORK IN. I WAS IN DENIAL FOR ABOUT 3 MONTHS. FINALLY I CONFRONTED HIM AND CONVINCE HIM TO GO TO A SPECIALIST. HE AGREED BUT REFUSE BLOOD WORK. SINCE THAT TIME HE HAS BEEN DX 1 MONTH AGO WITH SHINGLES. AND NOW HE S HOSPITALIZED WITH BRONCHITIS, PNEUMONIA, HEPATITIS AND POSSIBLE TB. THE DOCTOR STATED HIS CD4 COUNT IS 180. DOESN'T THIS MEAN THAT HE PROBABLY HAD BEEN HIV+ FOR A WHILE. HIS HYGIENE IS VERY VERY POOR, HE'S AN ETOH AND DRUG USERS. I KNOW HIS CHANCES ARE SLIM TO NONE IN FIGHTING THIS. BUT JUST BASE ON WHAT I'M TELLING YOU. HOW MUCH LONGER?

Response from Dr. Horwath

There is no reason to think that his chances are slim. If your uncle is treated with an appropriate regimen of antiretroviral medications, then he may do just fine for a long time. Good treatment, in his case, would also include treatment of his bronchitis, pneumonia, and TB. Some types of hepatitis (heaptitis C) also respond to treatment.

There is no way for me to know how long he has been infected with HIV, but this is not important with respect to his response to treatment. Most people who are HIV+ become ill many years after the initial infection (average time is about 10 years). The important factor in survival is getting the right antiretroviral treatment and adhering to it.



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