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Life Expectancy in Some People With HIV Exceeds Average

February 19, 2014

The decision to start treatment is different for every person with HIV and is a conversation best had with one's doctor. But research consistently finds that one of the benefits of starting HIV treatment as early as possible may be a longer life. In fact, a new study from the U.S. shows that, for people who start treatment before their CD4+ count falls below 350, their average life expectancy can be equal to -- or, in some cases, even higher than -- that of the general population.

For a disease that was once considered a death sentence, this is huge news, especially because life expectancy and mortality are often on the mind of people newly diagnosed with HIV and those considering starting treatment.

Meanwhile, a second recent study looked at death rates for non-AIDS-defining illnesses among people who started HIV treatment when they had a CD4+ count above 350. It found that the non-AIDS death rate was not, and had never been, any higher than among a comparable group of HIV-negative people.

There are a lot of other factors that go into mortality rates, including illicit drug use (which has been shown to seriously cut into the average lifespan) and history of other illnesses. While these studies definitely show some good news regarding starting HIV meds early, many factors should go into the decision to start treatment, so please consult with your HIV care provider.

For a more in-depth look at these studies and the numbers, Aidsmap has a full report.

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for and

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.

Copyright © 2014 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBody.

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Lauricella (California ) Mon., Sep. 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm UTC
I love it all
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Comment by: Manuel (Indiana) Tue., Jul. 15, 2014 at 7:47 am UTC
s there a new Ecyclopedia of Visual Medicine Series

Called the Differential Dignosis in HIV Diesase out yet???
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Comment by: babrah a karamuzi (kampala uganda east africa) Mon., Jul. 7, 2014 at 3:01 am UTC
living healthier since childhood now 23
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Comment by: mia lews (arkon) Thu., May. 29, 2014 at 8:43 am UTC
I have its hard but i got to go on with life
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Comment by: mia lews (arkon) Thu., May. 29, 2014 at 8:40 am UTC
this is crazy way its not telling what
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Comment by: Anonymous Mon., May. 5, 2014 at 6:18 pm UTC
I don't understand. It seems to imply that if I am not HIV positive and take lifelong HIV drugs starting at age 20 (ie, on the same schedule as if I were HIV positive), I will live as long as or even longer than the average American will live????? This makes absolutely no sense.
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Comment by: Drew (Sydney, Australia) Mon., Mar. 3, 2014 at 5:38 am UTC
Dear Poz Community,

I've been HIV positive for 8 years and I'm NOT on HAART as my CD4 T Cell Count is 730 with low V/L

I'm wondering is this normal to have a high CD4 Tcell count after 8 years with NO MEDS

I would love some feedback.


Drew, Sydney
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Comment by: Major Devaki (Madiker,Coorg Dist,Karnataka,India) Tue., Feb. 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm UTC
I am an Indian Army female nurse and tested HIV positive in 2000.I am called Savita at home and my family have disowned me now.I did not take my meds regularly and my viral loads are high.I have a child and am now 46 yrs and hoping to get married with a positive person. I am still on first line drugs and till recently nobody knew of my status.In 2007 they all knew and I am lonely now.
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Comment by: Geno (Vancouver WA) Fri., Feb. 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm UTC
Tested positive at the age of 50 in 1985. I am undetectable and Cd4's around 700. In a few months, I will turn 79, and I am in great health.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mack (New Jersey) Wed., Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:57 am UTC
I ws diagnosed in 1989at age 47 i am now 71 t cells of nearly 1000 and undetected viral load. I have had many medical issues through the years but now in good health and very active. I'm amazed and very happy that I have been so lucky
Comment by: Joann (Chesapeake, VA) Wed., Feb. 26, 2014 at 9:14 am UTC
Wonderful, I praise and thank God for your testimony. Your words give me faith. I am 55 and doing well.

Comment by: mjr (GA) Thu., Feb. 20, 2014 at 3:30 pm UTC
This is good...longer life might have to do with the fact that some people just get more health conscious when diagnosed. Eat better, quit smoking, excercise etc...
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