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HIV mortality
Jun 11, 2000

Here is a very difficult question to ask and perhaps to know.

What is the mortality and morbidity of someone who has an undetectable viral load and a stable CD4 count?

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well - you don't mention what CD4 count. Since that count is still the primary determinant in the near term of what might go wrong in terms of morbidity (illness) or mortality.

But with an undetectable viral load, and reasonable (over 200?) CD4 count, what can go wrong still? The major worries at that point are still malignancies - lymphoma specifically still happens. And can be life threatening - although does respond to treatment as well.

But other than this - the major issues are the other complications of treatment and other medical conditions - like hepatitis C and liver disease. Like heart disease. Or lung cancer - often from smoking. Less common would be anal or cervical cancer from the viral infection with a wart virus that can turn cancerous. And so on.

All the other things that we all die from someday... since if HIV is controlled, those other things can and do happen. But that's what it means to have the potential for a normal life span again...

On that cheery note...

Cal Cohen, M.D., M.S.



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