Do I still have AIDS?
Mar 3, 2009
I was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. I was hospitalized with PCP and had a CD4 count of 19 and viral load around 750,000. For the past 12 years my CD4 has never been above 200. My last test showed that my CD4 had suddenly risen to 346. Even with the increased CD4 count, I continue to experience fatigue and often have a heavy aching in my legs which makes it hard to walk at times. Do I still have AIDS, and why am I fatigued and achey?
Response from Dr. Henry
Fatigue is common in the general population and more common in HIV+ patients. Current use of AIDS terminology is that once a patient has AIDS they always will have been an AIDS patient (similar for a cancer survivor having had cancer or a person with a broken bone having always had a fracture). Having had AIDS or a fracture puts a person in a different place for future health events due to residual effects (using the fracture analogy a healed fracture often shows up on an X-ray and could be a point of weakness in the years ahead). From the functional standpoint I emphasize that the AIDS definition serves an epidemiologic function that often doesn't really describe a patient's current clinical situation. KH
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