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Does everyone eventually require meds
Mar 29, 2007

I tested positive in Dec 06, my most recent cd4 ws 660 and VL only 6200. My doctor thinks I have been positive for 10 years or more and that my body is doing a good job of defending the virus. Is it possible for some people to keep the virus in check and never require meds?

Response from Dr. Sherer

Yes, there are people who are referred to as 'long term non-progressors' who have remained free of signs and symptoms of HIV and opportunistic infections for more than 10-15 years.

However....there are VERY few of these people, and MOST of the people who were once in this category eventually start to drop their CD4 cells, increase their viral load, and develop HIV-related symptoms.

My advice is to assume that you will need ART sometime, knowing that that moment could be YEARS away, and to do everything you can to remain healthy in the meantime. By that I mean see your doctor 2-3 times per year, as he or she recommends, continue to monitor your CD4 cells and viral load periodically, and eat healthy foods, exercise every day, and avoid drugs and cigarettes, or stop smoking if you do smoke.

There are no known diets, health foods, vitamins, or 'natural' therapies that can help your immune system to manage the HIV virus, so I would not spend a lot of money on such things.

If the time comes that you DO need ART, you and your doctor can deal with it then, without it being a big deal, and your life can go on as usual. So I would not invest a lot of time and energy into the hope or expectation that you can avoid treatment indefinitely. Each year that you do go without ART is good for you, and if and when ART is needed, you can deal with it.

I urge you to talk to your doctors about your concerns and these suggestions.


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