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Does HIV continue to have a destructive influence even when undetectable
Mar 12, 2010

Dear Keith

This is more a side effect of HIV, than ARV, but here goes. After I was successfully treated for stage 4 non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2003, my cancer consultant reckoned my prognosis could actually be quite good but my HIV consultant mentioned some interaction between HIV and the lymphatic system that meant I would be at a continued risk of further lymphoma occurrences. My question arises from this disparity and is as follows: Does HIV continue to exert a destructive influence within the body, even if continually undetectable in the blood? If this is so, how does it do this, what are the implications for patients generally and where would a successfully treated lymphoma patient stand vis a vis a potential relapse or new lymphoma event?

Kevin

(from the UK and a reader of this website since 2003)

Response from Dr. Henry

HIV under control (undetectable) can still cause some level of immmune activation/dysfunction which can potentially cause long term health problems-that is area under increasing study. Survivors of cancers/lymphomas (whether HIV + or not) also have an altered immune system and can be at risk for recurrence or other forms of cancer depending on what type of cancer that had and the form of treatment they received. KH



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