Life Span Of PWA
Aug 24, 2005
I have been HIV+ and fairly healthy for 12 years. I've had my T-cells drop below 200 for a time, so technically I have AIDS. However, my partner of 8 years passed away from AIDS a year and a half ago. He had been positive exactly 8 years when he died of Burkitts Lymphoma. He had never been sick before developing Burkitts. It started as a stomach ache in August 2003 and he was dead by the end of January 2004.
My question is this: What is the average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with HIV? I have asked my Dr. and several people at AIDS agencies in L.A., but all I get is this sugar coated Pollyanna response. "Treatment options are getting...bla, bla, bla." I want the cold hard facts. I suppose I could go to the CDC web site and search around forever and find them. But I thought I would give you a try.
I want to know because I think it would be a great motivating factor for me to do things in my life NOW, before it is too late.
Response from Dr. Henry
Effective HIV therapy has only been available for around 9-10 years so predicting the future for 10-30+ years based on hard data is not possible. For patients starting effective HIV treatment who suppress their HIV levels to < 50 copies/ml without any drug resistance the long term prognosis looks good (though likely not as good if CD4 cells don't rebound >> 200 cells/mm3). Data has shown that a person who takes medications at near 100% with HIV levels < 50 copies/ml without resistance has only 5% or less chance to fail that regimen yearly which translates to a good 10+ year prognosis from the HIV standpoint (so need to focus on heart disease and cancer prevention as well and mental health support!). I expect many/most of my patients who are doing well to attend a retirement party for me in 20+ years!? KH
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