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Loss of Lifetime Immunity?
Oct 3, 2007

If a person becomes infected with HIV, would they lose the lifetime immunity they have already obtained from illnesses (such as chicken pox, specific common cold strains, etc.)? In other words, can HIV make the body "forget" that it has immunity, whereas an HIV negative person would usually be immune to such illnesses for life?

Response from Dr. Henry

Most acquired immunity is maintained in HIV+ persons particularly if the CD4 count is maintained above 200-350. Immunity often wanes with age and it remains unclear whether adequately treated HIV will add to that diminished immunity as patients age. Data from a French study suggested that a person doing well for several years on HIV therapy (suppressed virus) with a CD4 count > 500 has an overall health status/prognosis similar to a matched HIV-negative population. KH



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