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Progression to AIDS
Dec 6, 2004

I just wanted some clarification on previous answers you have given regarding the onset of AIDS.

You say that on average it takes 10 years for a person living in the US/Europe to develop AIDS. Are you talking about people that never get any treatment for it, or does this include everyone who contracts HIV, whether on treatment for it or not?

Response from Dr. Sherer

Before ART was available, we learned that the average time from infection to serious clinical illness, i.e. AIDS, was 10 years WITHOUT ANY TREATMENT.

Since we now encourage people without symptoms to be treated when their CD4 cells reach 350 cells/ml, i.e. long before their CD4 cells are < 200 cells/ml and they are at risk to develop clinical AIDS, we are interfering with this natural history, and, hopefully, extending the period of time without symptoms indefinitely.

Note that there is recent evidence that the untreated person with HIV elsewhere in the world may have a more rapid time to clinical AIDS, as short as 7 years in Haiti, 5 years in the Ukraine and 4 years in Kenya, according to recently presented studies.

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