HIV treatment not available in Africa, how long until I die?

Question

Hi Sir,

I am 43 years old male recently diagnosed HIV postive (may-June 2007) with CD4 (435) I am from Africa and cannot afford medication, like to know how will I die and how soon without treatment, will I suffer pain? will people know I am an AIDs patient if I die? Here doctors do not answer, they hate gays.

Answer

Hello and very sorry to hear of your plight.

The good news is that changes are underway and treatment programs for HIV infection are expanding throughout Africa. So it will be important for you to explore where programs are being developed in your country.

Without medication there is a gradual loss of CD4+ cells and typically people start developing symptoms when the counts drop below 100. There is no way to know how long this will take for any individual, but several years would be an average time-line. There is also no way to predict exactly how someone with untreated AIDS will die, but in general, it involves suffering, and is difficult to hide. This is why it is so essential to ramp up treatment programs.

If you can send more information about your location and situation maybe we can direct you towards a treatment program.

Good luck!