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Long-term HIV complications
Apr 9, 2007

I am responding to Kyle's question to Dr. Daar about his many complications from long-term HIV drugs and infection. I am a long-term survivor, over twenty-five years. We survivors are rare. All of my HIV-positive friends are dead. I have been through all the experiences Kyle is going through and I can say almost with 100 percent accuracy that all of my complications were drug-related. My last regimen seemed to have the least complications. However, because my system (and this must be true of most survivors) seems to fight off the disease quite well on its own. The key is doing everything you can to boost your own immune system: no alcohol, smoking or recreational drugs, regular exercise, adequate rest and a good diet. A year ago, I decided to go off all meds. My t-cells remain in the high 500's and my viral load, although around 60,000, is stable and does not seem to be going up. If things change, I will definitely go back on meds. But, for the time being, my own immune system is doing the job just fine. And, a strong immune system may be the key for long-term survivors in general. I also have no complications from HIV and only ever had them during drug regimens. I consider myself as healthy as anyone who is HIV-free and expect to live a normal lifetime. Oh, and by the way, no depression! I feel terrific!

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I am glad to hear that you are feeling well. Best, Eric


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