|10 years symptoms
Jun 9, 2001
What symptoms of HIV would a woman who has had HIV for 10 years and never been treated. Could the woman still be in perfect health? Thank you for your answers.
Response from Dr. Aberg
After ten years of HIV infection, a person still may not have any symptoms of HIV. The symptoms of HIV may be very non-specific meaning that they can be caused by diseases other than HIV. The more common findings of advanced diease include weight loss, fatigue, generalized feeling of not feeling well, skin changes such as dryness or folliculitis, thrush (yeast in the mouth), enlarged lymph nodes and a host of others.
It is very important that someone who has HIV be under the care of a doctor. Even though someone may be feeling well, we can do tests to make sure that they stay in good health. The CD4 cells (T-cells) are very important as they help fight infection. Frequently after ten years, the CD4 count is less than 200 and this poses a risk for developing infections. A doctor can check the CD4 count to see if there are medications that the person should be on to prevent infection such as pneumonia.
There are some people who have HIV and still have high CD4 counts and do not need any therapy. But again, they still should see a doctor every few months to make sure they continue to be well.
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to HIV ten years ago or at anytime, I encourage you to get tested. The fact that someone feels well should not weigh in on your decision to get tested.
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