Nov 10, 2005
Why is it that so many people write here and are only one or two years into infection and are already at t-counts which are low enough to begin meds when it is written that most people can go 5 or 7 years before starting treatment?
Also, is it fairly safe to assume that someone who is fairly healthy and finds his or her status within a year or two can expect a fairly normal lifespan of at least decades(20++years)??
Response from Dr. Conway
It is true that most people will go 7 years or longer before they need medications, but some people (as many as 10-15%) have a decrease in CD4 count to the 200-350 range much more quickly. This may be a function of how much virus they acquired, the status of their own immune system and what else might be wrong with them. This is why we monitor the CD4 count every 3 months as soon as we know someone is infected to make sure they won't need treatment.
As far as lifespan goes, it is my belief that with careful monitoring and initiation of treatment when it is needed, the vast majority of people diagnosed with HIV infection today will live out their natural lives without ever developing AIDS.
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