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Information on aids resistant people who test positive for HIV but never develop active AIDS.

Feb 11, 1997

I need information on HIV positive people who never develop active aids. Particularly important is the relevance of DNA in aids resistance.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Since AIDS has only been around for about 15-20 years, we cannot say for sure that there are HIV positive people who will never develop AIDS. The disease hasn't been around long enough to know what will happen beyond 15-20 years. We can say however that there are people who are "long-term survivors" or "non-progressors". These are people who appear to stay healthy for many years, despite their HIV infection. It is estimated that this group of people comprise about 5-10% of persons infected with HIV. There are multiple reasons why non-progressors do better than most others with HIV/AIDS. Many of these people have very positive attitudes about living with HIV and take very good care of themselves. Some may also have a weaker strain of the virus that is not as aggressive in attacking the immune system.

A report came out in 1996 discussing people who may have a genetic resistance to the virus. For more information about this, please go to the question, "Genetically not predisposed HIV infection."

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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