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Life after Diagnosis
May 20, 2005

Dear Dr., My friend is HIV positive and his doctor said the life expectancy is 20 years from diagnosis. What do your think the expectancy is for someone that was diagnosed with full blown aids. His T-cell is now up to 125 after being on meds for several years. It was at 25 at the time of the diagnosis. It does not seem to be getting any higher. VL is <50. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Horwath

I have treated patients with HIV who have been infected for more than 20 years. The really effective HAART regimens have only been available for 9-10 years, so we don't really know what to expect over the long run.

I think the best we can say is that if a person has a good response to HAART (undetectable viral load; CD4 count > 350), then he is likely to do well as long as he is highly adherent to the medication schedule. We don't have a good way to predict beyond this.



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