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Living Life Forever
Sep 8, 2003

I have been HIV + for almost 1 year. I have always been undectable with my viral load and my CD4 has increased from 799 to 814 to now it is 1046. I have never been sick, not even a sniffle. My doctor tells me I could possibly be one of these people, who never get sick, meaning after 20 years, these people still have never showed one sign of HIV... could you explain and what is the longest you know of someone living with HIV, before it converts to AIDS.

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

At present, viral load appears to be one of the best predictors of outcome following infection. With an undetectable viral load and good CD4 count without medication, it is unlikely that you will progress to HIV disease in the near future. In fact, as your physician has pointed out, some individuals (also known as "long-term nonprogressors") have lived for prolonged periods of time (> 10 years following acquisition of infection) without symptoms of HIV infection, with low viral loads, and with normal CD4 counts in the absence of medication. The rationale for markedly delayed disease progression isn't entirely clear in all individuals but some appear to be infected with attenuated (weakened) strains of virus; increased resistance of their T cells to infection seems to explain it in others.

While your numbers are currently very good, it is important to have consistent follow-up with your care provider.


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