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Ofra Haza
Feb 28, 2008

I was reading a tribute recently to Ofra Haza, the Israeli-born singer who died of an AIDS related illness. They said she married in 1997, and they believe the guy she married is the one who infected her. She died in Feb, 2007. Even without medication, isn't it unusual for a person to go from being newly infected to dying of AIDS related illnesses in just 3 years?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

If she were married in "1997" and died in "Feb 2007," that is 10 years, not 3, unless you're using Dubya's fuzzy math, perhaps? At any rate a 10-year course would not be unusual, depending on viral strain and whether or not she was treated aggressively. Other factors that could come into play would be adherence to medications and the possibility of contracting a fatal opportunistic infection or malignancy.

Assuming your 2007 was a typo and she died three years after her marriage, that still wouldn't mean she was HIV positive for only three years. She may have been with her husband for quite some time before actually getting married. What would be rather unusual, but not completely unheard of, would be a clinical course from primary infection to death of less than three years in a previously healthy individual without extenuating circumstances. That was probably the point of your question. And yes, I agree that would indeed be unusual. However, from what we know about Ofra Haza, we cannot assume that was the case, OK?

Dr. Bob



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