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Refuses to take medicine
Apr 17, 2002

I have a friend who is Hiv/Aids positive for over 10 years. She refuses to take any medicine. She has thrush for over two years, rashes are starting and she is losing weight and has a persistant cough. But she refuses to beleive it has anything to do with her disease. She is in such denial. She says she thinks she has allergies! How long does she have to live without any medication?

Response from Dr. Young

Thank you for your question.

It is difficult to answer your question with certainty without more information about your friend's HIV viral load and CD4 count. These lab values are very helpful in predicting prognosis and need for therapy.

It would seem to me that your friend has symptomatic HIV disease, if not frank AIDS. My best advice is to encourage your friend, in any way possible to seek medical evaluation. Her wieght loss and chronic cough are suggestive of pneumonia (perhaps PCP). Untreated, persons with AIDS have an average life expectancy of about 3-4 years. With treatment, the life expectancy is much greater, but depends on a number of factors-- primarily access to, and response to combination therapy.

Good luck, BY


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